Iraqi soldiers learn check-point operation skills
In support of Operation New Dawn, Company E, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, has assisted the 10th Iraqi Army Field Engineer Regiment in a variety of security-related training.
Company E has primarily trained the 10th IA FE Reg. on route clearance and reconnaissance tasks; however, according to Staff Sgt. Benjamin Ireland, of Pittsburgh, Company E recently began training Iraqi soldiers on check-point operations.
“The [security transition team] wanted us to put together a class and teach check-point operations to the officers and NCO's. I had recently come off of the trail and the material was fresh in my mind,” said Ireland, referring to his recent assignment as a drill sergeant.
Company E designed a two-day vehicle check point operations course that they have taught weekly to more than 120 officers and NCO's in for the past three months. Ireland gathered the material on vehicle search techniques from previous courses and tailored it for Iraqis conducting vehicle searches.
“The Iraqis were already good at finding hiding places in the vehicles during deliberate searches, so the class teaches the warning signs so they can identify vehicles that need to be searched,” Ireland said.
The course begins with a lecture describing check point operations, check point design, vehicle search methods, and driver interviews. At the end of every course, Ireland chooses the top two Iraqi noncommissioned officers to help assist in the practical exercises.
“[W]hen we conduct the hands-on evaluation they all get into it and they all perform well,” said Ireland.
Two Iraqi NCO's, Sgt. Ali and Staff Sgt. Saf, both combat engineers, have distinguished themselves as being very knowledgeable in vehicle search techniques, and Ireland chose them to be the primary instructors for the course.
“They performed better than the rest so we taught them how to be instructors, and they taught the last three classes on their own,” said Ireland.
Company E also hosts a weekly two-hour officer professional development class for the senior officers of the unit. According to Ireland, the class focuses on planning check-point operations and many of the captains and majors have attended.
“We’ve had colonels and lieutenant colonels as well as the 10th IA commander attend the class,” Ireland said.
Ireland believes that the weekly training course will have positive impact on Operation New Dawn as Iraqis continue to secure their country.
“I hear reports of some of the check-points out in sector are getting better,” said Ireland.
Article by Capt. Daaron Spears, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs