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    Squadron 70 commands Iraqi skies

    Squadron 70 commands Iraqi skies

    Photo By Spc. Andrew Slovensky | Iraqi Lt. Col. As’ad and Iraqi Maj. Ahmad, pilots with the Iraqi air force, Squadron...... read more read more

    CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Iraqi Lt. Col. As’ad and Iraqi Maj. Ahmad regularly pilot a Sama CH-2000 military tactical surveillance aircraft on four-hour flights, viewing the skies of Southern Iraq from an eagle’s perspective. They use this to their advantage on the lookout for smuggling and other illegal activity on the borders with Kuwait and Iran.

    As’ad and Ahmad are pilots in the Iraqi air force, Squadron 70, stationed on Contingency Operating Base Adder. The personnel of Squadron 70 have worked with Airmen of Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission-Air here to prepare them for the reposturing of U.S. Forces in Iraq.

    ITAM-A trained the squadron on the use of the surveillance aircraft as well as deriving the information from photographs obtained on reconnaissance missions. This helps to provide support for Iraqi Army forces on the ground, said Iraqi Col. Sabah, the Squadron 70 commander.

    The Iraqi air force on COB Adder has developed a strong relationship of cooperation with ITAM-A, said Sabah. The Iraqis have provided surveillance for U.S. Forces, who have trained and supported Squadron 70 on missions in the south, he added.

    “We work with U.S. Forces to cooperate to cover the border with Iran and Kuwait and with our training,” said Sabah. “We come here and work together.”

    “We train and advise them in all areas,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Mechille Braden with ITAM-A. “We are focused on airfield operations: how to manage a tower, how to do controlling of the assets, how to do firefighting. But also, from a sustainment perspective for base operations, how to do [basic lifesaving], how to pick up your trash, how to do dental inspections.”

    Braden said that the bond between U.S. Forces working with the Iraqi air force is beneficial to the success of future operations.

    “The relationship between the ITAM community and the … Iraqis here at Ali is one of family, one of trust,” said Braden. “Without this sense of family, without this sense of trust, we Americans aren’t able to be as effective in helping the Iraqi air force develop the capabilities as needed.”

    ITAM-A has been focusing on preparing the Iraqi forces here to take charge of the airways over Iraq for the eventual reposturing of U.S. troops, said Braden. The goal is to have an Iraqi fighting force that can control the airfield and the base effectively, she said.

    “When the Americans leave, COB Adder … becomes Imam Ali Air Base,” said Braden. “So this installation becomes an Iraqi air force asset to help protect their sovereignty.”



    Date Taken: 09.24.2011
    Date Posted: 09.24.2011 08:34
    Story ID: 77522
    Location: TALLIL, IQ 

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