News: 60 Iraqi soldiers complete route clearance course
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
KIRKUK, Iraq - More than 60 Iraqi army soldiers with 12th Field Engineer Regiment of the 12th Division IA, graduated from a six-week long route clearance course, known as the Ready First Combat Team Route Clearance Academy, at the K-1 IA base, Kirkuk province, Iraq, June 23.
The purpose of the course was to bring the IA one step closer to taking over route clearance operations in the area.
Distinguished guests who attended the graduation ceremony included; Col. Patricia Sellers, commander of 1-1 Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, “Ready First” 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas; Lt. Col. Eric Wick, deputy commanding officer of “Ready First;” and Lt. Col. Khalid, 12th FER executive officer.
The ceremony was also attended by the partners of the graduating soldiers, “Blackhawk” Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1-1 STB.
The graduation and award ceremony began with speeches from the leadership of the IA and “Blackhawks.”
“I am very impressed with the IA soldiers and I know they will soon be able to take over route clearance missions in Kirkuk,” said Capt. Michael D. Kieser, commander of C. Company.
He continued to say this group of distinguished Iraqi soldiers impressed him with their motivation to learn and this is why he thinks they will soon be ready to handle all route clearance missions.
Also during the ceremony Kieser explained to the IA leadership exactly what their soldiers had accomplished during their training.
The course included combat lifesaving, U.S. Army Warrior Tasks and Drills specifically related to route clearance missions, recovery planning and improvised explosive device lane training, said Kieser.
Khalid also spoke to the crowd of ‘Ready First’ Soldiers, IA soldiers and other guests about how much he appreciated the training for his soldiers.
“I appreciate the support from the American Soldiers and I am very pleased with the results of working side-by-side with you we have fostered a better relationship,” said Khalid.
He continued in saying he looks forward to future training with “Ready First.”
When the leadership finished with their speeches the soldiers who completed the training and received a certificate of completion from the IA and U.S. leadership to validate the training they received.