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    Bandits share knowledge with Salvadorans

    By Spc. Allison Churchill
    41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq - One of the Cuscatlán Battalion's leaders approached several company commanders during the 589th Brigade Support Battalion's uncasing ceremony and asked if anyone had welding resources to teach his Soldiers.

    "He asked if we could train them so they'd be prepared for a civilian job as a welder - there's good money there," said Captain Angel Ortiz, commander of Company B, 589th BSB, 41st Fires Brigade.
    Ortiz replied that he did. As a result, three Cuscatlán Battalion Soldiers spent the last month taking welding classes from Soldiers in the Service and Recovery shop, Co. B, 589th BSB, 41st FB.
    "This was a really good experience," said Cuscatlán Soldier Manuel Alberto Fabian Chanico. He said he was glad to learn how to weld, which will help him look for a good job when he returns home, and he also enjoyed working with the American Soldiers.

    Sergeant Richard Fierro, the brigade's master welder, mainly taught. As luck would have it, Fierro, an El Paso, Texas native, completed the basic non-commissioned officers course for metal working shortly before deploying, giving him a framework for the classes.

    "We taught a 14-week [advanced individual training] class in a month," said Fierro.

    The Salvadorans learned the basics of welding - enough to find work at home, said Staff Sgt. Philip Daniels, S and R shop non-commissioned officer in charge. They trained on an oxyacetylene torch, arch welding machine and plasma cutter. In addition, after they learned to use each tool, they helped the shop upgrade and repair mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicles and complete other tasks.

    "We really appreciate having them around," said Daniels.

    Ortiz wrote memorandums declaring the students completed nearly 240 hours of classes to assist them in finding welding work once the Cuscatlán Soldiers return to El Salvador.

    "I'm very happy we're able to come down and have the Americans teach us," said Cpl. Herber Adalberto Gomez.

    Sergeant Jose Elohin Garcia, who has served the Salvadoran Army for 24 years, said he was especially glad to learn plasma cutting, which sends an electrical current into the metal to make cutting it easier, a skill he didn't learn in his previous welding experience. Garcia had once learned welding in a kitchen appliance factory, but is happy to have a chance to practice and learn new skills, he said.

    The Bandits are eager to teach more coalition soldiers welding skills, as long as they are able to overcome the language barrier, and communicate with their students, said Ortiz.



    Date Taken: 08.08.2008
    Date Posted: 08.08.2008 14:17
    Story ID: 22271
    Location: AL KUT, IQ 

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