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Airmen revamp Iraqi police training facility

by Army Spc. Jay Venturini
316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Public Affairs

12/20/2007 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq  -- For Iraqi police to succeed in securing their nation from the hands of insurgents, they need proper training and equipment, and they get help from American servicemembers at the 732nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, Det. 6.

In five days, Airmen from the unit built a classroom, mock checkpoint, covered live-fire range and living quarters with heat and air conditioning for up to 30 students.

"We are providing Iraqi police with a great facility to live and train," said Tech. Sgt. Thundercloud Hirejeta, a Det. 6 electrician. "They will be very happy with the results."

"What these Airmen have done in just five days is simply fantastic," said Army Maj. Chip Giles, a 1203rd Engineer Battalion construction officer and supervisor of the project. "Their quality work will make this facility a great place for IPs to train."

The facility is used for newly recruited IPs to learn basic procedures and operations of the job. The 12-week course includes basic first aid, how to search a person and a vehicle, and drill and ceremony.

The prior condition of the facility was less than ideal for training. The students lived and conducted classes in old tents with little electricity. It was also hard to perform practical exercises with limited resources and no training simulations.

"When we got here, it was pretty much an empty lot," said Airman 1st Class Zack Stratton, a Det. 6 utilities technician. "Now they have a training facility that can support real-world scenarios." 

The finished project required intensive planning and hard work. The Airmen proved they could handle the task, Major Giles said.

"The facility is far beyond initial expectations," the major said. "It is a true testament to these Airmen's work ethic and the Air Force."

Many of the Iraqis have also shown approval for the new facility and are looking forward to getting started in the course, Major Giles said.

"It feels great building this facility knowing that it's going to help the Iraqi police protect their streets and their country," Sergeant Hirejeta said.

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