News: Adopting an Iraqi NCO
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
The sun comes up; time for physical training which is soon followed by personal hygiene. Then it is off to work patrolling the city or training until long after the sun goes down.
This is a typical day for a Soldier in 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas.
This also became a typical day for three Iraqi army non-commissioned officers, from March 21-24.
Iraqi NCO's from 2nd Battalion, 15th Brigade, 12th Iraqi Army Division embedded with U.S. Soldiers from 6/1st Cav. to learn firsthand how U.S. NCOs interact within their units during the Adopt-an-NCO Program.
During these three days, in order to build on the techniques the IA NCO's use now, they learned how to conduct a U.S. Army PT session, U.S. Army combat lifesaving skills, U. S. Army patrol techniques and how U.S. Soldiers interact with other U.S. officers and enlisted Soldiers.
The patrol techniques was possibly one of the most valuable for the IA NCOs, according to Staff Sgt. Travis Thompson, section sergeant, 2nd Platoon, Bravo Troop, 6/1st Cav. and a native of Winchester, Va. In the U.S. Army, NCOs contribute significantly more to operational matters during patrols compared to the IA which is primarily officer led.
Before the patrol, the IA NCO's observed the 6/1st Cav. NCO's check their Soldiers gear and trucks for the proper equipment, and conduct a patrol brief.
"Usually we just meet-up with our partners when we are leaving the FOB but because of this program the IA NCO's were able to see everything; from how to prepare for a patrol to the after-action report," said Thompson.
During the patrol the Soldiers took their partners to Gueded, a village near Kirkuk, Iraq. While there, the IA NCO's were able to see how 6/1st Cav. NCOs communicated with the leaders of the village, and emplace their own Soldiers to establish security in the area so the officers can conduct meetings.
"We assumed responsibility of these IA NCOs, so they could grow in experience," said Staff Sgt. Miguel Ramirez, section sergeant, 2nd Plt., B-Troop, 6/1st Cav., from Los Angeles.
The IA soldiers were able to add the U.S. Army's methods for security, PT, mission preparation and combat lifesaving skills to their own, gaining knowledge and experience helpful for the future.
"Gaining experience is vital at this time; [U.S. forces] will be minimizing our presence soon and it is important that these NCO's have the knowledge they need to lead their soldiers," said Ramirez.