Story and photo by Spc. William K. Ermatinger, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C
BAGHDAD—A key factor in any military’s success is its ability to train new Soldiers. To assist in facilitating this ability within the Iraqi Army, Soldiers with B Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center work regularly with new Soldiers of the 11th Iraqi Army Division on basic Soldier skills at Joint Security Station Old Ministry of Defense in eastern Baghdad.
During one regularly-scheduled training session between B Co. Soldiers and their 11th IA Div. counterparts, the day began with joint physical fitness training.
“(Working) together exercising helps improve their physical condition and build camaraderie,” said Pfc. Jesse Buck, an infantryman with B Co. and a Springfield, Ohio, native.
After exercising and personal hygiene, Soldiers reported to classrooms for their daily training. The Iraqi Soldiers were separated by their military jobs—infantry Soldiers went to one class and mechanics to another.
Some of the classes hosted by the American mechanics focused on the repair and maintenance of Humvees.
“The Soldiers in the class were mostly drivers and we did have a few mechanics,” said Spc. Anthony Wong, a mechanic with B Co. and a Bethel, Pa., native.
The class consisted of two sessions. The first was a formal classroom environment in which the systems of the vehicle were discussed while the second session offered a hands-on approach which allowed the Soldiers to identify individual parts.
“The (Iraqi Soldiers) were eager to learn, listened, and they retained the information well,” said Wong. “This training is necessary so the Iraqi Army will be self sufficient after we leave.”
During the infantry training, the B Co. Soldiers went over weapons tasks such as how to perform a functions check and how to disassemble and clean their weapons, with Buck demonstrating how to perform the tasks to standard. After the demonstration, the class took their own weapons and practiced taking them apart, reassembling them, and then completing a functions check to prove the weapons where assembled correctly.
Additionally, a separate class was conducted for a group of IA officers covering the topics that were trained in the weapons class so they would know the standard being taught to their Soldiers.
“Most the officers have an understanding of the training, so it's mostly just reiterating what they learned,” said Sgt. Adam Cain, an infantry squad leader with B Co. and a Baltimore native.
The final training was a Combat Life Saver course that explained how to perform life-saving techniques while on the battlefield.
“This training is essential for all Soldiers to have so they will have the ability to save someone’s life if needed,” said Spc. Michael May, a medic with B Co. and a Tishomingo, Okla., native.
The medics who taught the class went over the application of tourniquets, field dressings, and pressure dressings. The class also covered how to make improvised tourniquets when medical supplies are not available.
“They were very attentive and ready to train, so overall, the CLS class went well,” May said.