War on Terrorism

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On the Ground: U.S. Forces in Iraq Train Police, Soldiers

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 19, 2009 - With U.S. operations in Iraq shifting from providing security to ensuring Iraqi sovereignty, troops there are stepping up their training of Iraqi forces. U.S. soldiers in southern Iraq in recent days have trained Iraqi forces in everything from special weapons and tactics to criminal investigations to mortar firing. And, in one program, they trained Iraqi police to train their own.

At Forward Operating Base Delta, soldiers with the 772nd Military Police Company introduced Iraqi officers from the Numaniyah police station to its "train-the-trainer" program.

"One of the things we want to do for the [Iraqi police] is to explain how they can create trainers here at the station," said Kevin Zaldua, a contracted Iraqi police advisor who works with the 772nd.

The train-the-trainer program teaches one person to be an expert for a specific lesson or class, which they then teach to others.

Unlike many Iraqi police stations, Zaldua said, the Numaniyah station is in good shape with trainers. It has three training officers who went to school in Baghdad before they were assigned to the station.

"They conduct training on vehicle searches, personnel searches and physical training," Iraqi Col. Hamid Khanam Kadim Hassan, assistant district police chief, said.

The goal of the U.S.-Iraqi training partnership is to bring training to the next level, not only in what is being taught, but also administrative duties such as maintaining records and files, Army Staff Sgt. Michael Petterson, a squad leader with the 772nd's 3rd Platoon, said.

"Every week, we want to train one of the trainers so they can be instructors, and then they can have classes every week on anything -- on vehicle searching, personnel searching, on any law-enforcement issues," Petterson said.

"We want to work with them to establish a program, and we think it would be beneficial if they kept files on every single officer so they can see what they have been trained on and, that way, they can have experts in different areas," Petterson added.

In other operations, the 1st Cavalry Division's 12th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, provided tactical training to about 150 special weapons and tactics team police from Muthanna province Feb. 10.

The SWAT team's leader, Lt. Ahmed, requested the training from the battalion's Company A, he said, so his police could become "always ready."

"I often execute time-sensitive missions," Ahmed said. "Most of my missions come at times of vulnerability for the suspects and times of opportunity for me."

The battalion started training the Muthana police in December by explaining the basics of vehicle maintenance, gun truck operations and urban tactical training at Convoy Support Center Cedar. The team learned leadership procedures and how to conduct risk management during patrols.

Iraqi police now take the lead during tactical missions in Muthana including providing security for high-profile visits such as that of Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in December and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker in January.

"The professionalism and training of the [Iraqi police] SWAT was evident during the joint operation," Army 1st Lt. Arthur Houston, of the 772nd, said. "Ahmed incorporated the tactics, techniques and procedures he learned from the U.S. Army and his team's tasks were executed without fail."

Also in Iraq:

-- The 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team completed a month-long course Feb. 10 that trained Iraqi criminal investigation professionals in Dhi Qar. Designed for Iraqi police and Army intelligence specialists in southern Iraq, the course included one-on-one instruction on gathering and analyzing evidence in the Dhi Qar, Maysan and Muthanna provinces, as well as tactical questioning.

-- The Iraqi National Police graduated 533 officers from advanced police training at a Feb. 12 ceremony at Camp Dublin. Their classes included operational planning, police procedures, police intelligence, counter-insurgency skills, weapons, combat skills, first aid and basic logistics. It is the seventh such class taught by Italians on behalf of NATO.

-- Three members of the Infantry Mortar Leaders Course at Fort Benning, Ga., recently deployed to Besmaya to train the initial cadre for the Light Artillery Wing of the Iraqi Army Artillery School. The training included the proper methods of emplacing mortars and methods for fire direction and control.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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