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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraqi medics, engineers improve their skills

Sep 16, 2009

By Capt. Juan V. Flores

CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE GARRYOWEN, Iraq (Sept. 16, 2009) - Sergeants from the 38th Iraqi Army Brigade received instruction on combat casualty assessment from their U.S. counterparts in Maysan province recently at Camp Sparrowhawk.

Combat medics Sgt. Tyler R. Potter and Spc. Conan Martinez, along with Staff Sgt. Fabio Herrera, a combat engineer, prepared the Iraqi noncommissioned officers for duty as medical trainers at Camp Sparrowhawk.

"The language barrier is much easier to overcome than you would think," said Potter. "The Iraqis are eager to learn and use plenty of hand gestures to get their points across. They have picked up on training and techniques we have shown them and adapted or adjusted into their own training."

The training is part of an ongoing "train the trainer" combat lifesaver course for the 10th Iraqi Army Field Engineer Regiment Detachment. Soldiers conducting the training are assigned to the "Eagle" Company, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment deployed out of Fort Bliss, Texas.

"We have seen a great improvement with Iraqi engineers," said Sgt 1st Class Robert A. Passarell, a combat engineer from Bedford, Pa. "The Iraqi Army engineers I have been training are eager to learn. They have the utmost pride in their country and want to make it better."

"As we partner with the Iraqi engineers we are able to benefit from different points of view," Passarell added.

Eagle Company is partnered with the 10th FER as part of the "advise and assist" concept developing the route clearance team and professionalizing the Iraqi engineers.

Martinez found benefits to having a partnership with the Iraqi Army.
"Training with the Iraqi Army allows us to share our lessons learned, which are very valuable learning tools," said Martinez. "(Training) the Iraqi engineers refreshes our basic Soldier skills as combat medics."

"The Iraqi Soldiers are ready and willing to learn more from us," added Martinez. "We can see the work has paid off, seen the way they have improved."

(Capt. Juan V. Flores serves with 4th BCT, 1st Armd. Div.)

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