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    US Soldiers prepare Iraqi army for sustained success

    US Soldiers prepare Iraqi army for sustained success

    Photo By Sgt. Cody Quinn | Iraqi soldiers trained with members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne...... read more read more

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Camp Taji has been a key location in the U.S. training effort portion of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Forward Advise and Assist, provide hands-on training to Iraqi army soldiers during their nine-month deployment to the region.

    “Generally, the Iraqis are pretty friendly to us,” said Pfc. Jesse Giallonardo, a combat engineer and Pittsburgh native with the 307th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

    Combat engineers with the 307th Engineer Battalion created obstacles and simulated battlefield conditions to improve the quality of training for IA soldiers at Taji.

    “A lot of them are motivated,” Giallonardo said. “They’re excited to train whether they’re tired or hungry. When we ask them if they want to stop they say, ‘No, we are made of steel. We want to fight.’”

    U.S. Soldiers at Taji trained more than 1,000 IA soldiers in tasks ranging from basic soldiering skills, aviation operations and diesel generator maintenance to prepare the IA to reclaim their country.

    “The class is a great thing. We learn a lot. We do appreciate the American military for teaching us, we really do,” said Sgt. Hosham Ysseen, the noncommissioned officer in charge of Camp Taji’s water treatment plant, who attended a class on generator maintenance provided by U.S. Soldiers.

    Classes given by U.S. Soldiers help to prepare the IA and Ysseen said he would like to see them continue.

    Along with providing sustainment training, paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division provided a six-week basic training and three-week advanced training course to IA brigades.

    The six-week course covered basic soldiering skills like moving as a squad, reacting to the enemy and basic rifle marksmanship, and culminating in an exercise testing all they had learned.

    The advanced course built on those skills by increasing the complexity of their tactics and finished with an exercise that combined infantry, engineers, tanks and helicopters.

    Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant forces captured roughly one-third of central and northern Iraq in a lightning strike during the summer of 2014.

    “This is what they signed up for,” said Sgt. Eric Labezzari, a New York City native and cavalry scout with Alpha Troop, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division. “They’re eager to take their country back. They’re always saying it.”

    Labezzari was one of approximately 50 paratroopers with Alpha Troop deployed to advise and assist in training the IA. Despite the language barrier, the instructors and their students found ways to communicate with each other.

    “We use a lot of sign language. Ninety-nine percent of the time we point at something and they point at it,” he said.

    The mutual learning and high-level of interaction between Iraqi and U.S. forces has been an enjoyable experience said Sgt. Stacy Minder, a generator mechanic instructor and Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, native with 82nd Airborne Division.

    “My family has enjoyed hearing stories about us working together, too,” she said. “We’re continuing to show that the Iraqi army and U.S. Army are working side-by-side.”



    Date Taken: 05.12.2015
    Date Posted: 05.12.2015 07:50
    Story ID: 163001
    Location: CAMP TAJI, IQ 
    Hometown: NEW YORK, NY, US
    Hometown: PITTSBURGH, PA, US

    Web Views: 2,472
    Downloads: 6