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    Iraqi army trains, takes lead in tactical operations with new up-armored vehicles

    Inside and Out

    Photo By Sgt. Kristin Kemplin | BAGHDAD - An Iraqi army soldier of the Military Police Company finds a target on the...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Kristin Kemplin 

    363rd Public Affairs Detachment

    By Sgt. Kristin Kemplin
    363rd MPAD

    BAGHDAD - The 6th Iraqi Army Division's Military Police frequently patrol the streets of Baghdad in light utility vehicles that offer no more protection than a standard pickup truck. But, thanks to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, MPs are getting a new, professional look this year.

    Driving 4.5 ton Polish-made armored personnel-carriers emblazoned with the Iraqi flag, these MPs now look like a formidable force on the streets. Meaning "wild boar" in Polish, the aptly named "DZIK-3" is a 'super-utility" vehicle with all-around armor, bulletproof windows, puncture-proof tires and smoke launchers. The unique structure of the firing ports built into the vehicle is what gives it a competitive edge against the enemy.

    "Now these soldiers are protected from any attack because the rifle muzzle is the only thing outside the vehicle," said Lt. Col. Ahmed Joseph Ibraheem, commander, MP Co., 6th IAD.

    "We are in 2006 and we are trying to build a new army. So why not bring new equipment and vehicles to match with the year we are in?" said Ibraheem, whose company received four of the brand-new vehicles at the end of March.

    The MOD 'saw the need for the MPs to get better vehicles and get out into the fight," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Rogers, advisor, Military Transition Team, 4th Infantry Division.

    After purchasing 600 of the vehicles from the Polish army for a reported $100 million last November, the MOD launched the first DZIK training course last month. Instructors from the ministry began teaching select IA soldiers from all the brigades within the 6th IAD on the basic weapons systems, driving techniques and communication systems of the DZIK.

    Using the techniques of the American military, the MOD conducted an experiment with 'train the trainer" style teaching methods and encouraged the thirty members of the first class to return to their respective units and train up their personnel.

    The training is still in the experimental phase. Once MOD deems the soldiers have been successful at training themselves and conducting missions while reducing lost lives on the battlefield, more vehicles will be handed down to the units.

    "This vehicle, when they distribute it to the units, it is going to go down to the streets. The insurgents will see this vehicle, which is armored and equipped with the best technology, and it will give the soldiers more trust and intimidate the insurgents," said Warrant Officer 1 Ali Houssen Abed, training instructor, Ministry of Defense Up-armored Vehicles Training Facility. The commander of the MP company, hopes to receive more of the vehicles if the experiment proves to be successful.

    After graduating the course March 16, the military police company's eight drivers "went back and trained their other soldiers," said Rogers, who said he considers Ft. Hood, Texas, his hometown. "They are about 80 percent complete in training the rest of the company on the DZIK."

    Working with Coalition Forces, the MP Company conducted its first mission with the DZIKs March 29. The mission was a Personal Security Detail with American Soldiers in the lead. Since the success of that mission, the troops have continued to go on missions and have gained confidence in the vehicles. They have advanced so quickly that they are now taking the lead in PSD convoys with Coalition Forces.

    "They are in the lead," said Rogers. "They've got a lot more swagger in their step now that they are leading."

    The vehicles will enhance the visibility of the Iraqi army soldiers on the streets of Baghdad as well as separate them from terrorists, who commonly use pickup trucks to direct small-arms fire at Coalition Forces. These vehicles, stenciled with proper markings and identification, will identify the soldiers as legitimate military police if they ever need to cross over into another Iraqi brigade's battlespace, said Rogers.

    But the training has not been without its challenges, said Ibraheem.

    The instructors and leaders alike felt it would be beneficial for the Polish army to come and give them hands-on training with the vehicles.

    "The communication system is not an American product. It is also new to the Americans," said Ibraheem. Ibraheem praised the MiTT for their ability to adapt and help the soldiers to work with a system that is foreign to both countries" armies.

    "Getting eleven people to fit in the vehicle as the Polish have designed," is another challenge, said Abed.

    Another daunting task for the Iraqi army is proving themselves as a good army, said Rogers.

    "They are building their army in the middle of a war," said Rogers. "They are standing up an army in a combat operations tempo and they are doing an unbelievable job."

    "Now if we have a mission anywhere, even a harsh, dangerous place, the soldiers in my platoon compete to get on the missions," said Ibraheem.



    Date Taken: 04.12.2006
    Date Posted: 04.12.2006 09:25
    Story ID: 5998
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ 

    Web Views: 134
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    Iraqi army trains, takes lead in tactical operations with new up-armored vehicles