By Army Spc. Rebekah Lampman
Special to American Forces Press Service
March 10, 2009 - Iraqi police officers jumped out of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and hit the dirt at Camp Cedar's landing zone during an air assault training exercise here earlier this month. "I am very happy," said Maj. Gen. Sabah, Dhi Qar's Iraqi provincial chief of police. "With this training from the coalition forces, my men are going to be able to use the air as well as the ground to go after the terrorists and arrest them. Without this, we would not be as knowledgeable and trained as we are now."
Dhi Qar province's 5th Tactical Security Unit of the Iraqi police and the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, "Thunder Horse" Battalion worked together to conduct the joint training for seven Iraqi police officers March 2.
During the exercise, Iraqi police secured four buildings and detained three suspected criminals after exiting the helicopters. The TSU also found a weapons cache, important documents and treated an injured Iraqi.
"We are always trying to increase their abilities to plan and conduct missions," Army Capt. Christopher Kelshaw, a Thunder Horse company commander, said. "They met all of our goals, but we will still train them to an even higher standard of tactical operations."
This training demonstrated the TSU's abilities to issue warrants according to Iraqi law, develop target packets for high-value individuals and conduct air assault missions, Kelshaw, from Wharton, N.J., explained.
"It shows the Iraqi security forces are one step closer to becoming independent," he said. "Little by little, we are taking less of a direct role in this effort."
The Thunder Horse battalion is planning similar training missions in the future to help develop the TSU's ability to use military aircraft on the battlefield.
(Army Spc. Rebekah Lampman serves with the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.)