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U.S. passes training torch at Cashe South

Jan 19, 2010

By Staff Sgt. Jeff Hansen 366th MPAD, USD-C

BAGHDAD - Soldiers at Contingency Operation Station Cashe South have moved a step ahead of most with their training and transition programs.

Task Force Nassir, a four-phase training course designed to enhance the combat and leadership skills of Iraqi Federal Police, has now converted to being taught completely by Iraqi instructors.

According to 1st Lt. Ilyas Renwick, a platoon leader with 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, transitioning to "Iraqis teaching Iraqis" was always meant to be the end state of TF Nassir, which was originally taught by U.S. Soldiers. He said he is impressed at how smooth the process has been for them.

"The instructors have been great," Renwick said. "We're always here to provide the extra resources and helping hands, but they're doing a great job teaching their [policemen]."

The concept of training for TF Nassir starts with basic assessments and training in a classroom environment, with the later stages moving into real-world scenarios. Basic rifle marksmanship, machine gun familiarization, individual patrol movements and evidence handling techniques are all parts of the second phase of training and are taught by members of 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Federal Police. U.S. Soldiers are present for all classes to provide oversight and assistance.

Renwick, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., said he has been impressed with the enthusiasm and cooperation of the shurta, Iraqi Federal Policemen, during the program, which has went through several changes over the past year due to changes in the FP operational environment. Some tasks have been added or modified at the request of the instructors, who brought real-world experience to the course.

For example, traffic control points are a permanent structure in Baghdad, whereas U.S. Soldiers are used to controlling a temporary TCP. The class needed to be altered to fit the local situation.

"We're doing our best to train the shurta. They're being trained on things they really need," said 1st Lt. Haydar Abd Almajeed, the officer in charge of TF Nassir. Haydar is assigned to 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Federal Police.

Haydar said he is excited to see the shurta implementing the skills they were taught in basic training and looks forward to seeing them using the new skills learned during TF Nassir.

Leadership on both sides realized the FP had very limited training and experience on large weapon systems and decided a preventive maintenance instruction class should be added to the program. With U.S. assistance, a PMI class was implemented and is taught by Iraqi subject-matter experts.

A similar situation was responsible for the intermediate casualty care training. Due to logistical constraints, training aids had been in very short supply for a 60-man class. Most policemen had received no first aid training prior to TF Nassir.

Spc. Ryan Jorgensen, a medic assigned to TF Nassir, has been assisting Iraqi medics with this part of the course. Jorgensen said he understands medical training can be a lot to absorb, so he has been limiting his class to one or two tasks each day.

The medical instructor for TF Nassir, Sgt. Adel Sadweg, said the FP were amazed at first at how much training would be available for this course. He stated that too many ISF casualties occur simply from the lack of tactical field care knowledge.

"We have absorbed a lot of experience from the Americans, and I like them helping us with more advanced [medical] techniques," said Sadweg, who has been a medic with the Ministry of the Interior for more than six years.

Renwick said he and his fellow TF Nassir members are excited to be working with the FP students and instructors in the future. They hope to stay on the path they have laid so far and continue to build camaraderie and friendship with their Iraqi counterparts and they strive together to build a safer Iraq.

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