News: Victory starts with training; Soldiers from 769th Eng. Bn. train IA engineer partners
By Sgt. Henry Bauer
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Victory starts with training – and for the members of the 6th Iraqi Army Engineer Battalion and the Soldiers of the 35th Engineer Brigade's 769th Engineer Battalion, that meant conducting multiple training exercises and demonstrations to strengthen the bonds of their joint efforts and partnership.
The training events conducted by the battalion's engineering companies included a demonstration of the 769th's engineering equipment that is used throughout the Multi-National Division – Baghdad area, an embed with mechanics from the 6th Eng. Bn. at Forward Operating Base Independence, and classroom instruction with hands-on demonstrations of concrete road repair mission, which is known as rapid crater repair.
Since arriving at Camp Liberty in October 2007, the 769th Eng. Bn. has had the overall mission of constructing command outposts, forward operating bases and joint security stations. The rigors of the day-to-day missions are successful due in large part to the battalion's subordinate units.
The Headquarters Support Company and the Forward Support Company, both based out of Baton Rouge, La., support their fellow companies logistically, administratively and with maintenance support and planning operations. The 231st Survey and Design Team, from Gulfport, Miss., has been the crucial asset to getting the future constructed bases off the ground by surveying the site of construction.
The Soldiers of the 821st Horizontal Engineer Company, based out of Summersville, W.Va., move out to the site to sanitize and prime the local landscape for its vertical efforts. Lastly, the 851st Vertical Engineer Company, from Little Falls, Minn., provided the vertical assets to get FOBs up to initial capabilities regardless of the location on the battlefield.
Iraqi army partnership training events with the 6th IA Eng. Bn., provided a process intended to be a tool to establish and improve the capabilities of our respective forces roles in winning the fight on terrorism, explained Capt. Jason Mahfouz, a native of Lake Charles, La., who serves as the operations officer for the 769th Eng. Bn.
Soldiers from the 6th IA Eng. Bn. paid a visit to the 769th Eng. Bn. for partnership training on engineering equipment. When the IA soldiers arrived, they were greeted by a wide array of equipment that ranged from plumber's tools, cranes, bulldozers and other types of equipment that is used by the battalion.
Col. Achmed, the IA engineer battalion's commander, along with his staff, were given a guided tour by Lt. Col. Keith Waddell, a native of New Roads, La., who is the commander of the 769th Eng. Bn. Soldiers specializing in the multitude of engineering specialties were standing by. The IA Soldiers were given hands-on demonstrations and explanations on the wide array of tools and engineer equipment by the Soldiers who use them on an everyday basis.
"This unified TEAM training builds partnership and stimulates engineering capabilities, said Waddell. "This should enable success for the 6th Iraqi Army now and into the future."
Staff Sgt. Benjamin Morris, who hails from St. Francisville, La., along with Sgt. Jonathan Whitman, who hails from Ruston, La., both of whom serve as mechanics with the FSC, visited FOB Independence to provide guidance, training and support for their IA counterparts. The Soldiers partnered up with the IA operators and, through the use of a translator, helped in guiding the mechanic/operators on how to fix their damaged equipment.
"We gave them guidance on how to order items, such as parts, oils and other necessary preventative maintenance needs that they had," said Morris.
Although the two Soldiers were only at FOB Independence for four days, they said the felt much was accomplished in the hopes that one day, the group of IA mechanics can take their jobs for a better Iraq.
Soldiers from the 230th Concrete Team from Gulfport, Miss., along with their fellow Soldiers from the 851st Vertical Eng. Co., hosted a group of seven IA Soldiers to conduct partnership training. The training included a morning of classroom instruction to provide a basic understanding on what is involved in concrete operations throughout the MND-B.
The block of instruction covered pouring a concrete slab and the demanding mission of fixing roadways. After the classroom instruction, the IA engineers were then taken to the motor pool, where they were partnered up with MND-B Soldiers to perform hands-on training on their new skills.
The MND-B Soldiers thoroughly reviewed the tasks with their IA counterparts to avoid any potential confusion and provide clarity on the importance on the mission of performing concrete operations.
Soldiers from the 230th Concrete Team once again hosted the IA engineers April 21 to perform hands-on partnership training on pouring concrete slabs and then finishing of the slab once it is poured.
"The Iraqi army engineers completed about 75 percent of the work on their own with our Soldiers behind them, giving them advice and recommendations while they worked," explained Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Walley, a native of Laurel, Miss., who serves as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the 230th Concrete Team.
The concrete pour of the slab, he said, served to demonstrate that the IA soldiers are ready to take over the reigns as a concrete team in the near future.
"I was surprised how much information they retained from the training that we conducted a few months ago," said Walley. "The Iraqi army soldiers operated that concrete mobile truck like they have been doing it for a while. We just let them go at it – and they did an excellent job!"