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U.S. Soldiers Training Iraqi Mechanics

Oct 12, 2007
BY Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky

FOB KALSU, Iraq (Army News Service, Oct. 12, 2007) - Iraqi soldiers began learning basic vehicle maintenance for their Humvees in a new step toward self-sufficiency this week. "We\'ll be doing preventive maintenance, basic operations - changing filters and fluids, tires, troubleshooting," said Staff Sgt. Gary Minnich, 26th Brigade Support Battalion motor sergeant, about the training which began Oct. 8 at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, about 25 miles south of Baghdad. The training was conducted by Company B, 26th BSB, 2nd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division for Iraqis of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 8th Iraqi Army Division. The training not only included maintenance for the Humvees, but also troubleshooting to repair basic problems that might be experienced. "It is important that they learn these skills so that they can continue to progress in becoming an army," Staff Sgt. Minnich said. As the Iraqi Army evolves, it is incorporating new technologies and vehicles such as the American up-armored Humvee. Staff Sgt. Frank Brantly, a member of a military training team who is working with the Iraqi Army 3-8-8, said the Iraqis he works with have only had Humvees for about a year. While he praised the Iraqis' ability to pick up basic soldier skills, he said the logistical capacity is still being developed. Developing the logistics side, including supply lines, and distribution and subject-matter experts to use supplies necessary to keep the Iraqi Army combat-ready, is important in creating a self-sustaining military, said 2nd Lt. Tiffani Williams, maintenance control officer. "We are experienced and they are inexperienced, and we can shed some light on certain situations they have trouble with," 2nd Lt. Williams said. "What better way to learn than a left-seat, right-seat ride. Hopefully they can share their knowledge with their comrades as well." The IA soldiers said they were eager to learn. Emhad Abdeohasam, an IA mechanic, said the interaction with U.S. Soldiers was a great way to learn. He said that he is not used to the new American- supplied Humvees. Previously, he said, the Iraqi army used Russian equipment and pickup trucks, so much of his knowledge is limited to those machines. With the guidance of 26th BSB soldiers, Abdeohasam was able to troubleshoot and begin maintenance on his vehicle. Staff Sgt. Minnich said the IA soldiers seemed to be able to grasp the concepts being presented. "This way they'll have mechanics to fix their equipment, troubleshoot their equipment and keep it fully mission-capable," he said. Becoming a self-sufficient army is a desire the IA soldiers said they are striving to achieve. "We want to get to know trucks more. That way we don't need to go to you; we can fix it ourselves," Emhad Abdeohasam said. Alaa Hussein, a mechanic warrant officer who helped Abdeohasam perform many of the day's maintenance, agreed. "We're here to gain as much information as possible," he said. Challenges learning the new techniques only served to motivate him, Alaa Hussein said. "We take pride in doing a job right," he said, "especially when it is hard." (Kevin Stabinsky serves with 2nd BCT Public Affairs.)

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