By Army Capt. Rafael Acevedo
Special to American Forces Press Service
Dec. 28, 2009 - U.S. Army scouts are helping Iraqi army commandos in securing their country. U.S. forces in Iraq transferred security duties in cities and towns to Iraqi security forces June 30. In support of this mission, the Scout platoon from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, is conducting joint operations and training with 38th Iraqi Army Brigade commandos.
Scout platoon members are instructing Iraqi commando leaders how to be more effective trainers for their soldiers. This initiative, officials believe, will help the Iraqis continue quality training of their soldiers after the drawdown of U.S. forces.
"I believe this is a great opportunity to develop our soldiers by allowing them to instruct and mentor their Iraqi counterparts," said Army Staff Sgt. Adam Wilson, a section sergeant from San Antonio.
The scout platoon's noncommissioned officers said they take great pride in this mission and realize the training's importance.
"Throughout the United States Army's history, noncommissioned officers have trained and taught not only their soldiers, but [also] soldiers in foreign militaries. I'm glad to be a part of it," said Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Salazar, a section sergeant from Downey, Calif.
Concurrently, the Iraqi instructors teach the U.S. soldiers about the capabilities of the AK-47 rifle, which is the Iraqi commandos' primary weapon.
The knowledge obtained from the training is put to the test when the Iraqi commandos and U.S. scouts conduct joint patrols.
They conduct operations across Maysan province to identify enemy rocket launch sites and to deter insurgent operations.
The commandos and scouts have developed a strong relationship, officials said.
The Iraqi commandos "always seem so happy and eager to see us," said Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Williams, from San Antonio.
As a result of this partnership and training, Iraqi commandos are securing their province with minimum assistance from U.S. forces.
(Army Capt. Rafael Acevedo serves with the 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment.)