American Forces Press Service
April 7, 2009 - After years of sanctions and forced isolation, two Iraqi air force officers have stepped onto the world stage and presented their study at a NATO conference in Germany. Iraqi air force flight surgeons Maj. Abdulrazzaq and 1st Lt. Hazem presented their findings on a fatal Iraqi Mi-17 helicopter crash last month to the annual NATO Flight Surgeons' Conference at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Two Iraqi pilots were killed in March 2008 while flying into a sandstorm. The Iraqi flight surgeons presented two lessons learned from the incident. The first was a need to accelerate instrument training and the second was to increase the practice of emergency procedures.
Air Force Col. (Dr.) William W. Dodson III, the surgeon for Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq's Coalition Air Force Training Team and the Iraqi air force's medical services advisor and director of training, escorted the doctors to the conference.
"The five-day conference marked an historic first for the Iraqi air force," Dodson said. "To present on the world stage to other flight surgeons from 26 countries, Abdulrazzaq and Hazem represented their country well."
Prior to the conference, the Iraqi flight surgeons attended partnering sessions where they learned from their counterparts during real-time workplace operations.
"It's been an honor ... working with Drs. Abdulrazzaq and Hazem, they are true professionals," Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert C. Kane, commander for the MNSTC-I Coalition Air Force Training Team, said. "They received a resounding ovation from the other conference attendees as the only presenters in the history of the conference from the Middle East.
"This initiative will result in a more capable Iraqi air force and it is a vital step toward ensuring Iraq's self-sufficiency during the critical transition from coalition- to Iraqi-led operations in support of the security agreement between Iraq and the United States," he said.
(From a Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq news release.)