Military

'Black Dragons' help federal police secure checkpoints

Feb 28, 2011

By Spc. Angel Washington, 4th AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div., USD-N

CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - Soldiers assigned to Battery A, 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, trained Iraqi policemen of 3rd Federal Police Division on checkpoint operations, Feb. 17.

The mock checkpoint, built by 5th Bn., 82nd FA Regt., created realistic conditions for the Iraqi policemen to train as U.S. Soldiers showed the police how to eliminate potential threats to keep local residents safe.

Policemen conducted the last portion of the four-day training reviewing how to properly inspect vehicles. Iraqi police participated in various scenarios testing the knowledge acquired during the training.

"The scenarios we used were formed from significant activities in cities, and different issues we've seen," said 2nd Lt. Trey Tidwell, platoon leader, Battery A, 5th Bn., 82nd FA Regt.

"Our goal is to improve the 3rd Federal Police's ability to conduct checkpoint operations," said Tidwell, a San Antonio native. "We're teaching them things they can re-teach to fellow policemen and that can echo for years to come."

During the training, Iraqi policemen manned guard towers and searched vehicles at the training site, learning tactics taught by U.S. Soldiers.

"Everything we're teaching them helps create a standard throughout each checkpoint," said Pfc. Calvin Gatheright, a cannon crew member, Battery A, 5th Bn., 82nd FA Regt.

"They're looking for (Improvised Explosive Devices) and anything out of place," said Gatheright, a Cleveland native.

Trainees learned how to effectively search people and determine when to escalate levels of force to gain compliance.

"They already have many of the techniques because they have been working at checkpoints," said Spc. Robert Land, cannon crewmember, Battery A, 5th Bn., 82nd FA Regt. "We are working with them to enhance those techniques and give them a broader view of the procedures by incorporating our methods with theirs."

Completing their first iteration of checkpoint training, Soldiers of 4th AAB, "Long Knife" Brigade, plan to train more policemen during their advise, train and assist mission in Iraq.

"I think this training is necessary before we leave," said Land, a Portland, Ore., native.

Land said the Iraqi police's performance during the four-day training exercise demonstrates their ability to do their job.



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