News: IA Commandos complete rigorous training
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
KIRKUK, Iraq - After a month of rigorous training, more than 100 Commandos with 3rd Company, 12th Iraqi Army Division celebrated the completion of a live-fire course by holding a graduation and award ceremony, at the K-1 IA base, Kirkuk province, Iraq, June 9.
The ceremony was attended by their ‘Blackhawk’ partners with 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas, and leadership of the 12 IA Div.
The award ceremony began with speeches from the leadership of 12th IA Div. and the Blackhawks.
“Before the training began we didn’t know if we would have enough time to bring these commandos to the level we wanted them at,” said the Blackhawk Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Brian J. McHugh, to the crowd of dignitaries and commandos.
“But since day one these commandos surprised me with their abilities and dedication,” he said.
“I am proud to say my Squadron stood beside these commandos to train them,” he finished.
This training was facilitated by ‘Blackhawk’ noncommissioned officers, officers and Soldiers in Apache Troop.
Also during the ceremony senior ‘Blackhawk’ trainers explained to the 12th Div. IA leadership exactly what the commandos had accomplished in the month.
The live-fire course consisted of commando leadership attending a two-week course introducing them to the training their soldiers would receive, so they could assist in training their soldiers, according to Maj. Brain Schoellhorn, a native of Columbia, Ill. and 15th Brigade IA, security transition team, operations officer-in-charge, who is also attached to the Blackhawks.
After the leadership completed the course the commandos moved onto learning small arms marksmanship, buddy, squad and platoon movement, combat lifesaving, clearing a house, taking out a bunker, breaching an obstacle and clearing a building, according to 1st Sgt. Steven Rogers, a Manassass, Va. native and Apache Troop first sergeant.
When the leadership finished with their speeches commandos who completed all of the training received a certificate of completion, 1st Armored Division patch and a ‘Blackhawk’ crest from Lt. Col. McHugh and Blackhawk Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Stanley Varner.
The Soldiers of Apache Troop also received tokens of appreciation from the 12th Div. IA for the roles they played in the training.
“We wanted you to know we appreciate all of the training,” said Lt. Col. Ahmed Ateya Saih, a battalion commander with 12th Div. IA, to the Blackhawks.
“We will use this in the future to train and conduct better combat operations,” he said.