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Teaching the art of war

Mar 10

By Sgt. Brian Tierce, 2nd HBCT PAO, 1st Inf. Div., MND-B

BAGHDAD -- Not long after the announcement that American forces would end their combat mission in Iraq in August of 2010, Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers returned to training the troops who will remain on the streets of Baghdad long after the departure of Coalition Soldiers.

Soldiers assigned to Military Training and Transition Team (MiTT) 10599 and 47693 conducted Military Operations in Urban Terrain, or MOUT, training at Muthana Airfield in the Kadhamiyah district of northwest Baghdad, March 3, with Soldiers from the 6th Iraqi Army Division's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Battalion.

"MOUT training is one part of a comprehensive program we've initiated to train the ISR Battalion's noncommissioned officers on their mission-essential tasks," said Capt. Joseph Valimont, a native of Champion, Ohio. "More importantly, we're training the battalion's NCOs to train their soldiers themselves. We have to ensure that their junior leadership is able to get this training done on their own."

The day started for the ISF Soldiers with a classroom session and walk through of the basic skills necessary to conduct operations in urban terrain.

With a population in the range of 7 million and sprawling buildings all around, the urban skills the ISF learn in the course and teach to their comrades could pave the way for greater success in the fight against criminal organizations.

"They showed a very positive attitude, were very eager to learn, and were motivated," said Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Clark, a native of Columbus, Ga. "We're building a foundation so they can then build on that foundation in the future."

Setting a solid base is not only important to the MND-B trainers, but also to the leadership from the 6th Iraqi Army Division who attended to training event to see their Soldiers in action.

"Most of the training is very good. We've become much more efficient at clearing houses and finding what we're looking for," said Maj. Hussein, executive officer, 6th Iraqi Army Division ISR Battalion. "Before the soldiers weren't as thorough in searching houses after they'd cleared them; now they've found insurgents in areas they'd previously overlooked."

Now that the training is starting to pay dividends with more successful missions, the MiTT Soldiers are still pressing forward with even more training events; and the Iraqi Soldiers are taking it all in.

"One thing that impressed me about the Iraqis is they seemed eager to learn," said Master Sgt. Robert Eplee, a MOUT Instructor from Brevard, N.C. "They're really hungry for some good training."

After an intense day of training, the Iraqi Soldiers and the MiTT members had the chance to highlight the improvements made by the ISF.

"Overall, the ISF Soldiers' performance was a success; we reached our goal, which was to get them to move from building to building as they cleared them, both as a team and as part of a squad," said Valimont. "When we could move two teams together, I knew we'd taught them something."

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