December 12th, 2007 04:55 EST
Iraqi National Police Learn Valuable Skills, Graduate Leadership Training
FORWARD OPERATING BASE RUSTAMIYAH — After four days of intense training, the fourth class of Iraqi National Policemen (NP) graduated from the leadership course, Nov. 29. The course is designed by Iraqis and taught by members of the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi National Police Military Transition Team (NPTT).
Maj. Robel Ramirez, 1-4-1 Battalion NPTT chief, said the policemen go through several training exercises during the week leading to an extensive exercise on the last day that combines all the tactics. The course is also taught according to what Col. Kassim, the 1-4-1 battalion commander wants his policemen to improve upon.
The skills learned include stacking to enter a house, tactical movement through a courtyard, clearing a house, reaction to contact and treating and evacuating a casualty. The policemen learned how to rely on each other as the exercise involved detaining a suspect and treating a casualty while under fire.
Ramirez, a native of Naranjito, Puerto Rico, said each class is unique, but that this class had more experienced and mature policemen. Since they have done police work longer, they had to focus on getting past preconceived notions of how to do things. Once they did that, Ramirez said they progressed and were very successful during their training.
“Overall, I’m really proud of the progress we have made in the past year,” he said of all the policemen that have been trained. “Training is the key.”
With each class that graduates, Ramirez said things are getting closer for them to become self-sustaining. The idea is to offer this training once a month, and eventually get the NPs to the point that they are teaching their own classes with Coalition forces merely there to interject if need be, Ramirez said.
“We’re closer than we were six months ago,” he said.
Capt. Woodrow D. Pengelly, operations officer for the 1-4-1 NPTT, said they would not have been able to train the NPs without Kassim, the NP’s strong and aggressive battalion commander.
Pengelly, a native of Portland, Ore., said Kassim supports the training and is willing to work around mission requirements to ensure his policemen get the proper training they need.
Master Sgt. Richard A. Jones, a native of Cadiz, Ohio, and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 1-4-1 NPTT, said seeing younger American Soldiers working with the Iraqi Soldiers is good because it enables them to really learn about the culture as they might find themselves over here two or three more times.
“It expands their minds, and they get experience working with them,” he said.
Master Sgt. Jeff N. Curd, a native of Paducah, Kentucky, and an operations NCO for the 1-4-1 NPTT, said this is his second time being on a transition team. The first time he worked with the Iraqi Army.
“I love it,” he said. “Both times I asked to come and I probably would come back again.”
Curd said an American private is more experienced to train others just by working with his peers. The typical private goes to Basic Combat Training, then Advanced Individual Training and then arrives at his unit where he continues to train. The Iraqi National Policemen, Curd said, go from basic training to working. They learn on the job.
“They just do basic training and the next time they deal with IEDs is when they find them on the road,” he said.
Spc. Thomas B. Richardson, a native of Chambers County, Ala., Pfc. Allen J. Wick, a native of Medicine Lake, Mont., and Spc. Erik D. Rillera, a native of Cerritos, Calif., are all infantrymen in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, based out of Fort Riley, Kansas, and currently attached to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
Each Soldier played a role in the training. Richardson was the driver of a truck with a bomb, Wick was a shooter and Rillera was a casualty.
Wick said it makes him feel like he’s accomplishing something when he helps train the Iraqi National Policemen.
“They catch on pretty quick…,” he said.
Richardson, who made the NP’s work while detaining him, said the training made them realize what they will face with detainees. He said they learned that a detainee isn’t always just going to sit there and that they have to keep a vigilant watch.
Training was a little rough in the beginning, Richardson said, but overall it went well. “I think it gives them motivation to be working with us,” he said.
(Story by Spc. Courtney E. Marulli, 2nd IBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs)