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Building a foundation, 3rd ACR, Iraqi army practice basic combat skills

Feb 20, 2011

By Staff Sgt. Garrett Ralston

WASIT, Iraq -- Iraqi Army Soldiers in Wasit province are continuing to make progress toward being a capable security force for their nation. Regularly working with United States Forces, the IA is retaining vital skills that will serve them well in the future.

With guidance from the Soldiers of Battery L, "Lion," 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, local IA Soldiers are currently conducting basic squad level drills on Contingency Operating Base Delta to hone their ability to operate in small groups.

"These guys really enjoy getting out here and training like this," said 1st Lt. Jason Yankee, officer in charge of the training, originally from Orlando, Fla.

Lion Battery Soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts spent a recent day covering basic movement techniques. This involved moving in a file, spreading out in a wedge formation, and stacking in a close-quarters security formation.

The IA Soldiers split into three separate groups, each with two or three Lion Soldiers, and worked their way through the drills, repeating the processes several times.

"I like training with these guys and trying to get them proficient," said Spc. Matthew Christopher, a small group trainer with Battery L. "There are some obstacles with our language barrier, but the interpreters make sure it doesn't effect the training too much."

Between iterations, both Iraqi and American Soldiers took breaks together, drinking water, smoking cigarettes, and sharing some laughs too.

During each phase of the training, a Lion Soldier would take the lead, and his group would slowly go through the motions. After one dry run, an Iraqi Soldier would take over as squad leader and run through the exercise a few more times. This process was repeated throughout the day until all felt confident in a particular drill.

Soldiers finished their training with bounding forward and falling back from an objective, swiftly running from one point to another and diving deliberately into the gravel, just as they would during actual combat.

After observing the days work, Yankee said he believes the IA Soldiers will now have valuable techniques and skills to share with their peers, strengthening the army's role as a successful security force for Iraq.

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