War on Terrorism

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

California Guard members prepare Iraqis for heavy-duty mission

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By Army Spc. Matthew Wright
California National Guard

CAMP TAJI, Iraq (10/3/11) – In preparation for the upcoming assumption of operations by Iraqi Security Forces here, Soldiers from Alpha Company, 640th Aviation Support Battalion recently conducted a week-long class training Iraqi army personnel on Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks.

The M978M HEMTT fuel truck is a 10-ton, eight-wheeled, fuel servicing vehicle. It is a bulk liquid transporter that holds 2,500 gallons of fuel and is equipped with a fuel resupply module for pumping fuel.

Iraqi personnel were trained to not only operate and maintain the fuel vehicles, but also to conduct training for other Iraqis on operating and maintaining the HEMTTs.

Army Staff Sgt. Rory Huerta, noncommissioned officer in charge of the training program, said the Iraqis would be receiving six brand new HEMITTs.

“We need to make sure that they understand how to not just drive them, but conduct preventive maintenance and services on the vehicles as well as fuel their vehicles and aircraft,” Huerta said.

The 40 hours of training started with the 640th familiarizing the Iraqis on HEMTT basic preventative maintenance.

As the course continued through the week, the Iraqis received training on driving the vehicles and operating the fueling system, including fueling of other vehicles and aircraft.

After familiarization and fueling training, 640th Soldiers taught Iraqi personnel instructional techniques for training other Iraqi troops on the HEMTTs.

Iraqi army Capt. Ali, the senior Iraqi officer in the class, said he was impressed with the training and its usefulness for Iraqi personnel.

“The class is providing very good information for us,” Ali said. “This experience will be good for the warrant officers and the fueling specialists that I have worked with for 25 years.”

The training of Iraqi personnel on the HEMITTS was important because they will soon assume responsibility for these services that American Soldiers. The ISF will take over the support of operations here as well as the full base operations.

Army Lt. Col. Lou Carmona, battalion commander of the 640th ASB, delivered a speech during the graduation ceremony at the conclusion of the training.

Carmona said he was proud of the outstanding manner in which A Company accomplished its mission, as well as the importance of the training for the ISF.

“This equipment is an important capability for the Iraqi army,” he said. “It represents the ability to project aviation into parts of the country where little or no infrastructure exists.

“At the end of the day, my Soldiers were able to connect with the Iraqis.”

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