By Sgt. Terence EwingsMarch 19, 2013
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - As Iraqi army battalions train on infantry skills at the Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center, U.S. Army signal support system specialists enhance IA signal crews' ability to effectively communicate in the field.
"Head Hunter" soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division conducted a basic communications class with their IA counterparts, April 6.
"The goal of this training is to make sure the Iraqis can operate, troubleshoot, maintain and service their equipment," said Sgt. Christopher Cisco, a communications specialist assigned to HHT, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt.
In the familiarization class, Head Hunter troopers taught Iraqi soldiers from 1st Battalion, 9th Brigade, 3rd IA Division, how to operate a combat network radio system to keep individual units in constant communication across the battlefield.
Cisco also taught the Iraqis how to program encrypted networks, secure the channels, and contact other units using the radio system.
Throughout the communications class, the Iraqi troops build on their previous communications knowledge and become proficient in setting up and maintaining their battalion's support systems.
Cisco said another goal of the course is to guide the Iraqi soldiers to be competent, independent instructors capable of carrying on the classes.
"Along with the knowledge we teach in the class, we work with the Iraqis to enable them to use these skills and train their own guys when they return back to their unit," said Cisco, a native of Freehold, N.J.
Over the course of the month, U.S. soldiers plan to work with their Iraqi partners to modernize 1st Bn. as part of Tadreeb al Shamil, an Iraqi Ground Forces Command initiative designed to provide units with dedicated training time to hone their individual and collective infantry skills.
During the 25-day training cycles of Tadreeb al Shamil, Arabic for all inclusive training, IA soldiers build their tactical knowledge and skills so they are able to proficiently secure and defend the populace from external threats to Iraq's sovereignty.
"It's an honor that my leadership entrusts me with the responsibility of being the primary instructor for this class," said Cisco.
Formerly a full-time college student in New Jersey, the Head Hunter non-commissioned officer is currently serving on his second tour to Iraq supporting 4th AAB's advise, train, and assist mission near Mosul.
"Cisco was born to lead," said Sgt. 1st Class William DuBois, the senior enlisted signal support system specialist assigned to Head Hunter squadron. "He's a hard worker and the Iraqis adapt very well to classes he gives them."
"I feel very privileged to receive this good training from the Americans," said Pfc. Naiem Gelewa, a signal soldier assigned to the 1st Bn, 9th Bde, 3rd IA Div.
"It's perfect training for us, and I look forward to using this radio knowledge," said Gelewa.
Following the three-week communications class with Cisco and other Head Hunter soldiers, the Iraqi signal crews will test their newfound communications skills as they join the rest of their battalion for a live fire exercise-the culmination of the month's training classes.