War on Terrorism

Friday, May 22, 2009

U.S. Soldiers Coordinate Training With Iraqi Forces

By Army Sgt. Brandon LeFlore
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 22, 2009 - Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, met with the commanders of the tactical support unit companies in Basra, Iraq, to discuss training May 12. The battalion is planning a training event for the security forces in the area and is assessing each unit's training needs.

"Our plan is to conduct a joint training exercise with all the tactical support units and the emergency response battalions in the area." said Army 1st Lt. Ray Critchfield, tank platoon leader with the battalion's Company C. "The goal of the planned training exercise is to raise the proficiency level of the tactical support units, which are a paramilitary police force in the city of Basra."

The platoon's soldiers met with leaders of two tactical support units and discussed the safety and security situations in the area along with any training the commanders felt their units needed.

"We're meeting with the commanders of each company to gather information about what kind of training they would like to conduct, so that we can better facilitate training for them," Critchfield said.

For the most part, the police force is fairly proficient at dismounted patrols and basic policing skills, but they'd like to receive more training in rifleman tactics, said Capt. Hussein, commander of Tactical Support Unit 2 in Basra's Al Majeed area. "The policemen with Tactical Support Unit 2 recently captured men who were writing anti-Iraqi force slogans on the walls in the city," he said. "Other than that, the area has been quiet."

The battalion's functions are similar to those of a police transition team, in that their mission here is to coach, mentor and train the Iraqi security forces to proficiently manage security disturbances in their respective operational areas. "We're basically doing the same job a police transition team would be doing," Critchfield said.

The platoon will employ a "train the trainer" concept, so tactical support units can take the skills they learn from U.S. forces and train future security forces in proper policing tactics and procedures.

(Army Sgt. Brandon LeFlore serves in Multinational Division South.)

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