By Army Sgt. Michael J. Taylor
Special to American Forces Press Service
March 27, 2009 - The Iraqi army's 31st Brigade chose its best and brightest soldiers to attend the first "Sergeant's Time" training hosted by U.S. soldiers at the Iraqi army compound here. Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, developed the monthly training as a way to teach Iraqi soldiers basic skills that all military personnel at every skill level should know. The U.S. Army calls this warrior task training.
The 172nd used this month's Sergeant's Time, held March 16 to 18, to give Iraqi soldiers training in the communications field. They learned how to load frequencies into their radios, how to put a frequency in single channel plain text, how to switch their radios from single channel to frequency hop, and how to assemble and disassemble an OE-254 antenna.
"We started the classes by trying to teach them the basics of troubleshooting," said Army Spc. Daniel S. Mutchler, signal support systems specialist and Iraqi army Sergeant's Time instructor with 1st Bn., 2nd Inf. Regt.
"The [Iraqi] soldiers were very, very eager to learn," the Stroudsburg, Pa., native said. "Literally within 15 minutes of arriving to conduct the training, we were asked to take a look at their Harris radios, which they thought were broken.
"We were able to fix the problem fast and easy," he continued. "Seeing this showed the [Iraqi] soldiers that we knew what we were doing and, in return, made them more receptive to our training."
In the upcoming months, Iraqi soldiers will learn basic-level skills in areas such as first aid, weapons maintenance and map reading, among others.
The 172nd instructors hope to use this training to develop a more self-sustaining Iraqi force capable of accomplishing basic skill level tasks, which will ultimately make them better soldiers for their army's future.
"They received this training well," said Army Sgt. Larry E. Carroll, Sergeant's Time noncommissioned officer in charge. "They asked questions, gave us input and accomplished all tasks with enthusiasm.
"This is the first time this training has been conducted and like anything else just beginning, it has room for improvement," the Williamsburg, Va., native continued. "The thing to take away from this is that the soldiers are willing and capable of learning and improving."
(Army Sgt. Michael J. Taylor serves with the 172nd Infantry Brigade.)