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MTT soldiers bring training tailored to IA unit’s mission

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Shots from multiple AK-47's snapped in the dirt, echoing amidst the Field Engineer Regiment compound, as Iraqi jinood, assigned to the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Iraqi Army Division, conducted weapon familiarization and qualification training, March 19.

U.S. Division-North soldiers of the Mobile Training Team attached to 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, led the days' training, running range safety and teaching basic rifle marksmanship to the jinood, Arabic for soldiers, at the compound range near Tikrit.

“We're here to train the trainer,” said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Hernandez, training instructor with the MTT. “This training will make the IA better, furthering their skills, so they can accomplish the mission effectively.”

The ISR gathers intelligence for the entire 4th IA Div., providing critical information necessary for Iraqi commanders to coordinate missions.

“We teach them proper procedures to gather military intelligence, to execute [intelligence] missions and prepare them to be aware of threats to Iraq,” said Hernandez, who calls San Juan, Puerto Rico home.

MTT soldiers visit IA units operating in Salad ad Din province, providing 10 to 15 days of training tailored to each unit’s specific mission.

Hernandez said he has seen progress by the ISR, as well as other units trained by the MTT in support of Operation New Dawn.

“This training positively changes each aspect of how missions are conducted,” said Hernandez. “It allows for the Iraqi soldiers to better fulfill their mission and provide security for themselves.”

The MTT operates independently of Tadreeb al Shamil, or All Inclusive Training, an ongoing Iraqi-directed initiative to modernize IA ground forces, said Maj. Jared Rudacille, MTT chief.

“The training is very adaptive and differs from [unit to unit],” said Rudacille, who hails from York, Pa. “We taught [the ISR] human intelligence procedures, as well as tactical and close reconnaissance.”

The instruction provided by the MTT reinforces individual and collective training taught at the enduring training facilities in northern Iraq as part of Tadreeb al Shamil, he explained.

The Iraqi jinood assigned to the ISR learned quickly, incorporating their own unit tactics, techniques and procedures into the training exercises, added Rudacille.

After the classroom portion of the training, the MTT moved the ISR jinood to the compound range for basic rifle marksmanship and range operations, building a foundation for self-sustaining training.

Iraqi officers and non-commissioned officers fired first, and then acted as safeties for their jinood, ensuring the Iraqi firers performed the techniques to standards taught by U.S. soldiers.

In between firing iterations, U.S. Soldiers provided “hip pocket” first aid training to the Iraqis, teaching life-saving techniques to the jinood awaiting their turn on the firing line, said Sgt. Thomas Cook, combat medic, MTT, 2nd Bn., 11th FA Regt., 2nd AAB, 25th Inf. Div.

Reviewing skills taught during previous periods of classroom instruction, Cook, a native of Atlanta, led the medical refresher training for the jinood.

"We went over basic skills we taught them, like how to put on a tourniquet, dress a sucking chest wound, apply pressure dressings and splint fractures," said Cook.

Another positive outcome of the training was seeing Iraqi NCO’s have a larger part in leading the training, said Rudacille.

“The officers led the training at first and the NCOs followed, but after the first group of firers, [the officers] stepped back and let the NCOs have a greater hand in the training, and eventually they were running the lane, just like we would,” he said.

After finishing range operations, the MTT returned to Contingency Operating Base Speicher to prepare for the next day’s training for Iraqi soldiers of ISR Bn., 4th IA Div. based out of the FER compound.

Article by Sgt. Coltin Heller, 109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment