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'Best of the best': Coalition trains Mahmudiyah IP District Response Team Pfc. Christopher McKenna

Iraqi policemen practice room-clearing techniques during DRT training at the Mahmudiyah Iraqi army compound on Sept. 27, 2008.

By Pfc. Christopher McKenna
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq – The Mahmudiyah Iraqi police is building a district response team.

"This group of DRT members will make sure Mahmudiyah is not threatened by terrorists," said 1st Lt. Yessir Shabp Abid, Mahmudiyah IP and future platoon leader for the DRT. "We will gain the trust of the people by making sure the enemy has no place to safely rest."

The soldiers of the 65th Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne) are training the DRT in basic rifle marksmanship, close-quarters combat, combat lifesaver skills, vehicle assaults and building entry and clearing techniques.

"The DRT will be a police organization that takes on the hard cases of the Mahmudiyah police force," said Spc. Joshua Carrion, from Brooklyn, N.Y., 2nd Platoon, 65th MP Co. team leader and clearance technique lead trainer.

"We train the DRT on special weapons and tactics that are beyond the IP's regular scope of work," Carrion added.

The current class consists of 11 IPs; it is the second of four DRT classes scheduled through October to train a total of 45 IPs.

"On the first day of the course, we break down the basics of what the DRT is made up of, what the leadership is supposed to do and what kind of operators we are looking for," Carrion said. "We're looking for the elite, the best of the best. We stress that they have to be sharp and know things that other people aren't necessarily going to know."

Identifying hostile and non-hostile targets is a main focus for the trainees as the city of Mahmudiyah transfers security authority from the Iraqi army to the IP.

"The DRT will be the force of choice in Mahmudiyah if there are non-combatants believed to be at a designated mission location," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Martinez, from Fort Bragg, N.C., 65th MP Co., squad leader.

The course is 10 days, but hopefuls conduct a physical fitness test and BRM training three days before the official start of training. The physical fitness test consists of a 100-meter sprint in less then 14 seconds, 21 push-ups, 31 sit-ups, six pull-ups and a 1,500-meter run in 14 minutes.

"After the PT test, they came back for a class on range safety and procedures, and how to fire properly from static firing positions," Carrion said. "After the range class and rifle marksmanship, the individuals who qualified were placed in the course."

While the course is designed to be difficult, everyone who passes the physical fitness test and marksmanship phases has successfully completed the training.

"At the end of the class, we send the candidates through the shoot house for qualification [where] they have to engage all targets throughout three rooms in less than 45 seconds," Carrion said. "Of the nine people we had in the first class, six of them received second-time goes [and] only three qualified to graduate on the first attempt."

"Everyone who is in the course has done a great job," Abid said. "Those who qualify will continue to help Mahmudiyah remain a safe and secure city."

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This work, 'Best of the best': Coalition trains Mahmudiyah IP District Response Team, by PFC Christopher McKenna, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:10.04.2008

Date Posted:10.04.2008 02:54

Location:MAHMUDIYAH, IQGlobe

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