CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - Iraqi soldiers faced a "notional" enemy to rescue friendly forces, saving the day, during a cordon and search exercise at the Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center, March 20.

U.S. soldiers of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, trained 3rd Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division soldiers at the enduring Iraqi training facility to help improve IA units light infantry tactics while focusing on the Iraqi soldiers' fire and maneuver capabilities.

"Elements in a cordon and search have to do their parts in maintaining the security and assaulting properly for the mission to be successful," said Capt. Russell Powledge, commander of Troop C, 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt.

During the month of March, U.S. soldiers are training the Iraqi infantry battalion at GWTC as part of Tadreeb al Shamil, Arabic for All Inclusive Training.

"It's more complex than the rest of the exercise lanes at GWTC and shows ... where a unit is at, as far as tactical capability; and this unit is really good," said Powledge, a native of Denver. "They're way ahead of the power curve."

The "Head Hunter" soldiers of 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt., taught IA soldiers room clearing techniques and enemy contact drills to enhance the IA unit's ability to conduct urban operations and secure the populace from external threats.

U.S. soldiers acted as advisors during the exercise, observing the Iraqis plan and lead a mission designed to capture enemy targets and rescue friendly forces on the objective.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Maynard, a cavalry scout and advisor at GWTC, trained and mentored the Iraqi soldiers conducting the cordon and search operation, observing the team raid a training "house" containing the notional enemy forces.

Equipped with assault rifles and magazines filled with blank rounds, the Iraqi soldiers used the cordon and search tactics taught by their American counterparts to surround the building housing the objective.

"I try to impart as much of my knowledge as I can on the Iraqi soldiers," said Maynard, a native of Cookeville, Tenn.

U.S. soldiers watched a squad of Iraqi soldiers secure the outer perimeter and then rush into the house and proficiently defeat the opposing forces to rescue the captives.

"Training these guys is how I'm fighting this war," said Maynard. "I want to see the Iraqi army be able to defend this country, and it makes me feel good when I see they're getting something out of it. It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing my mission."

The Head Hunter troopers continue to conduct urban operations training with the Iraqi soldiers at Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center, preparing the IA units for the battalion's culminating live fire exercise, March 31.