By Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger, 18th MP Bde. PAO, MND-BFebruary 25, 2008
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - More than 1,000 Iraqi Police recruits cycled through the small-arms range at the Furat Iraqi Police Training Academy here Feb. 19.
The IP cadre jumped from recruit to recruit while providing assistance to those on the range; for many of them, the event was the first time they had the opportunity to fire their assigned weapons.
Thus it went throughout the day as the new recruits underwent weapon familiarization, which is but one of many tasks recruits receive instruction on during their IP Basic Recruit Training.
"With IP cadre overseeing the training, the day went by without incident," said Sgt. 1st. Class Stephen Horn, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Furat IP Training Academy. Horn is a Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier assigned to the18th Military Police Brigade.
"Things are going a lot better then day one here," said Horn, a military police Soldier and a native of Forest, Miss., who said he has seen vast improvements in the training once the IP cadre arrived from the Provincial Directorate of Police, Patrol Headquarters Baghdad.
"The IP cadre are doing a very good job keeping things organized and keeping the recruits motivated," said Horn.
Horn has had his share of experience of training young Soldiers in the past, having previously served as a drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he taught U.S. Military Police students the basics on how to conduct police operations.
Prior to moving to the range, the recruits went through a weapons training and range safety class.
During the range familiarization, the IP cadre required the recruits to fire 25 rounds from the kneeling position and 25 rounds from the prone position with AK-47 assault rifles.
"The pre-training for the range by the cadre paid off and made things run smoothly," said Al Gauthier, an Iraqi Police Advisor's liaison officer. Earlier in the year, Gauthier trained the IP cadre on how to conduct the training.
"This is the first time many of these recruits have fired a weapon," said Gauthier, who added that his IPA team trained the IP cadre team during a train-the-trainer course months ago and that the cadre has come along way in their ability to train IP recruits.
While observing the Furat IP Academy, Gauthier said the IPA's main objective is to mentor, offer advice and instruct Iraqi law-enforcement recruits.
"This cadre is the best we have trained thus far. They are very professional and squared away," said Gauthier, a native of Bowie, Md., and former Prince George's County, Md., police officer.
Gauthier and his team are now limiting their involvement in the training, he said, and they are very pleased in the job the cadre is doing in training the IP recruits.
"Personally, I take a lot of pride in this cadre. I put a lot of time into their earlier training," said Gauthier, who has been part of IP training for more than a year.
The IP cadre were required to attend, and be certified at, an intensive 80-hour train-the-trainer course. They were then required to complete months of on-the-job training at Patrol Headquarters Baghdad and Camp Fiji, where they trained more than 4,000 IP recruits going through BRT.
The cadre had to earn their certifications by going through the course in a "go" or "no-go" system. Several did not make it through, said Gauthier.
Since the cadre have proven they are able to train IP efficiently, they have been tasked to head the new Furat IP Training Academy that trains more than 1,000 IP recruits per class. They are preparing for their biggest class yet - 1,500 recruits - which begins in March, said Gauthier. It will also mark the third class under which 'Sons of Iraq' recruits are undergoing in their bid to become IP.
"The cadres are ready to take on the challenge. They are very motivated and take a lot of pride in their work," said Gauthier, about the upcoming class at the Furat facility.
Gauthier said that he and his team see a lot of promise and fulfillment in their work alongside the IP cadre they trained.
"This IP cadre is highly effective, efficient and professional," said Gauthier, "It will, in turn, enhance individual performance, safety, unit effectiveness and mission readiness of the Iraqi Police force."
The first class of recruits nearing the end of its training and preparing for graduation.