News: Iraqi NCO Academy graduates class
by Sgt Rachel Brune
101st Sustainment BDE PAO
Q-WEST BASE COMPLEX, Iraq – The latest cycle to graduate from the Iraqi Army NCO Academy here July 25 was not the last to complete the training.
The students who will now return to their units as trained noncommissioned officers were, however, the final class taught by instructors from the 4th Battalion, 11th Field
"The cadre ... are charged with training Iraqi NCOs in the new millennium and beyond," said Staff Sgt. Edwin R. Sanchez, who has taught at the Academy with his fellow Soldiers for the past year. "We willingly accept this responsibility."
Together with the four Iraqi cadre members, the instructors taught a three-week Primary Leadership Development Course, including traffic control point procedures, entering and clearing buildings, drill and ceremony, physical fitness training, combatives, ethics and many more skills similar to what American Soldiers must master in their equivalent Warrior Leaders Course.
After watching a video presentation depicting various scenes from the training, Sgt. Maj. Walter Murrell, 4-11th FA, took the podium for his last graduation remarks as commandant of the NCO Academy.
"Teamwork is fundamental to what this country is trying hard to achieve," said Murrell. He asked the Iraqi soldiers to remember and apply what they have learned, especially in circumstances such as leading a team into an unfamiliar room in the middle of the night.
"You are the lifeblood of your nation, and you must never forget that," said Murrell. He added: "It was an honor to serve side by side with you. When the history books are written, you will be the heroes of the Republic."
The new brigade sergeant major for 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Iraqi Army, Sgt. Maj. Farhan, spoke next.
"These graduates will be the foundation to protect the Iraq of democracy, the Iraq of freedom," said Farhan. "Cowboy," an interpreter at the Academy, translated his remarks for an audience that included American and Iraqi soldiers.
"The role of the instructors is clear as sunshine... By doing a great job to train these Soldiers, the instructors deserve to be known as the heroes of the Academy," said Farhan.
The graduates sat ramrod straight as Farhan praised their actions and encouraged them in their future service. Their sacrifices will "wipe the martyrs' mothers' tears," said Farhan.
Farhan then presented the honor graduates with certificates and different items to recognize their achievements. He presented each graduate with a certificate of graduation.
After the presentation, the students stood to recite the Iraq Warrior Ethos. The ceremony concluded with a loud round of applause for the graduates, as well as snacks and drinks.