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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraqi air force primed for power

by Staff Sgt. Levi Riendeau
321st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

5/4/2011 - ALI AIR BASE, Iraq (AFNS) -- More than 30 Iraqi service members graduated from an introductory power production course taught by U.S. service members here May 2.

Through the course, the instructors taught the basics of running generators, enabling the Iraqi military to safely generate their own power.

The students, who come from bases all over Iraq, will learn to maintain a base power plant and get the power where it needs to go.

"We're trying to show them the right way to do it and make sure they maintain that information," said Tech Sgt. Randall Weston, one of the six power production course instructors.

In order to make sure the students, whose experience ranged from having a grasp on the concepts to no knowledge at all, remember what they were taught, the instructors often quiz the students on items taught earlier in the course.

"We're training them to take over the bases once we leave," said Sergeant Weston, who is with the 467th Expeditionary Prime Base Emergency Engineer Force Squadron at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

But a course like this did not appear from thin air. Instructors, such as Army Sgt. Jessie Correia of the U.S. Army's 249th Engineer Battalion, Delta Company, spent time before the class developing a training plan.

The main goal, Sergeant Correia said, was to build the classes based on skills power production technicians use every day. Even though some of the words and technical terms didn't translate well, the instructors used their expertise to develop a training plan that would not get lost in translation.

"Our goal is to teach these guys enough to be safe and be aware of their surroundings," Sergeant Correia said. "When these bases are set to turn over, they can start producing reliable power for themselves."

After graduation, the 32 Iraqi service members returned to their respective bases, enabling Iraq's military to power their mission.

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