News: US, Iraqi sergeants major discuss training Iraqi NCO corps
Story by Sgt. TJ Moller
BAGHDAD - Command Sgt. Maj. Earl L. Rice, senior enlisted advisor to the deputy commanding general for operations, United States Forces - Iraq and commander, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, N.C., met with Iraqi army Command Sgt. Maj. Nasser Abd Hasan Johai, senior enlisted advisor, 12th Iraq Army Division, May 19, to discuss military training standards and upcoming events.
Throughout the day Rice and Johai discussed military strategy, promotions within the Iraqi army, security force training and the Iraqi army noncommissioned officer corps.
The meeting with the command sergeant major of the 12th Iraqi Army Division was one step toward USF-I’s initiative to strengthen the Iraqi security force, said Rice.
“We partner with the Iraqi security forces, and that’s to include the Iraqi army, the Iraqi police, the federal police and the border police, to be able to help to get them to a level where they can provide internal and external defense for their country,” said Rice.
The IA has gotten stronger but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, said Johai. “We want to take this opportunity to fix our army and make it stronger.”
Johai expressed his worries for the future as the U.S. forces leave, but was reassured by Rice that their training and motivation will get them through this time in Iraq’s history.
“We have been working with the 12th IA along with the rest of the divisions to assist them in professionalizing their army through their education system and through their military training,” said Rice.
Taking the time to strengthen the NCO corps, will in turn, strengthen the Iraqi army, said Rice.
“SGM Nasser is one of the strong supporters of the non-commissioned officer education school system and empowering non-commissioned officers,” said Rice. “His chain of command has empowered him to be able to lead training to make a difference within his organization.”
“We have to take some time to develop that NCO,” said Rice. “We have to get him to the proper schooling.”
Evaluating soldiers and ensuring that the right soldiers or sergeants are being sent to the appropriate courses is one step in the right direction.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Johai. “When we have a corporal, we need to make sure he is qualified to become a sergeant.”
Being a sergeant and wearing the rank of sergeant are two different things, said Johai.
An NCO evaluation process will be implemented within the IA in order to ensure that the right people are wearing the right rank and have the appropriate responsibilities.
“The NCOs who have been empowered by their commanders have demonstrated that they are ready to take their organization to the next level,” said Rice.
“None of this has been easy,” said Rice as he addressed Johai. “You have been able to do this while at war. Now we are going to take advantage of this opportunity and make sure you are better trained and better equipped, and you will be able to take care of the security of Iraq.”
Continued partnered training and evaluations along with motivation will help the Iraqi security forces move forward, said Rice.
“I have told my soldiers that one thousand steps starts with the first step,” said Johai. “We have quickly moved forward, more than I thought we would. We have an army, and equipment. We are strong and God willing, we will continue and never stop.”