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U.S., Iraqis building partner capacity training at Baghdad Fighting School

By By Army Sgt. Cheryl Cox, 10th Mountain Division

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TAJI, Iraq (Nov. 23, 2015) — U.S. Army executive officers met with Iraqi Security Forces officers earlier this month to discuss upcoming building partner capacity training for Iraqi forces at the Baghdad Fighting School.

Each week, prior to training Iraqi Security Forces, members of the Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), meet with the Iraqi officers to explain the type of training their Iraqi soldiers will receive. This knowledge empowers the officers to take charge and demonstrate proper execution of the training in the days that follow.

The Iraqi Security Forces receive training from the coalition before returning to their respective areas of operations.

“The [training] additionally provides the officers with the confidence to become more invested and involved in the training because they know what is going on,” 1st Lt. Alexander Graves, the company executive officer explained. “We are currently witnessing the direct effects of the [training’s] benefit within the officer ranks of our current BPC rotation.”

Graves and 2nd Lt. Kenneth Seamans, a platoon leader with Alpha Company, gave the officers a one-week refresher training before moving on to new areas of training.

During week one, the Alpha company team taught the basics of squad movement, which included squad formations such as the wedge, file, and staggered-column.

“These formations are simple and easy to understand. When in contact with enemy forces, maintaining these formations and proper spacing will keep you alive,” explained Graves.

Once the refresher portion was complete, Graves and Seamans outlined the new skills the security forces will be taught.

The second week of training for the Iraqi Security Forces included instruction on how to execute squad-bounding techniques, how to identify an IED, how to react to direct and indirect enemy contact and a squad attack, and how to enter and clear a building.

As they moved through the different areas of training, the officers pulled from their personal experience and asked questions about how the skills would be used in certain situations, and explained how they have previously approached difficult situations.

“We only have three weeks to teach you how to shoot, move and communicate. We can’t go out there and fight with you,” Seamans told the officers. “We will teach you everything we can during the time we have to make your [forces] better.”

The Iraqi officers continued asking questions about each training scenario to gain insight and learn different approaches to situations. They also discussed how each skill could have been used in situations they have previously encountered such as open fields with IEDs or having enemy forces on a floor below them in a building.

At the close of the instruction, Maj. Kasim, an officer with the Iraqi Security Forces, expressed his gratitude for the work being done by the Soldiers of 1-87 Inf.

“You are doing a good job,” Kasim said. “Since you started training them, we saw an immediate improvement in our security forces.”

This training is conducted in support of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve building partner capacity mission. Training at building partner capacity sites is an integral part of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve’s multinational effort to enable Iraqi Security Forces personnel to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.