1st Lt. Jennifer Pollard
550th Area Support Medical Company
CAMP TAJI, Iraq -- Medics with the Division Support Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division are helping train the Iraqi Army in combat medic skills.
Sgt. Matthew J. Carver and Spc. Richard J. Fourroux, combat medics with the 550th Area Support Medical Company, Brigade Troops Battalion, DSB, are leading the efforts to train new Iraqi Army recruits to be full combat medics.
Carver, who is from North Wilkesboro, N.C., and Fourroux, from Denver, are directing a five-week course that requires Iraqi medics to train to a similar standard as U.S. Army combat medics.
The first class graduated 15 medics on July 26 to add to the Iraqi fighting force.
Fourroux said his experiences in Iraq have come "around full circle."
Today, his mission is vastly different from that during his rotation in Operation Iraqi Freedom 1. When he deployed to this country for the first time, Iraqis were the enemy. Now, he is preparing them for the future security of their nation with a more stabilized force.
As of July 26, the course has now shifted to the 'train the trainers" phase"instructing qualified Iraqi Soldiers to teach their own forces, said Carver.
Sgt. Qiass Al-Jobory, who has worked as a medic in Iraqi Army clinics for years, is an Iraqi leader in the Train the Trainer course.
Qiass said he "loves training soldiers." His goal is to give these new medics the experience they need to return to their unit, conduct missions, and save lives.
In fact, Qiass said their team motto, "a healthy mind for a healthy body," is an example of the students" excitement to receive the training.
Enrollment for the Aug. 3 course tripled, compared to the first class.
In the next four weeks, Carver and Fourroux will take on the role of advisors when the second iteration of IA combat medic training begins. This allows those experienced medics like Qiass to step in and instruct the classes.
"We are trying to hand over the reins," said Carver. "We are encouraging their leaders to set up their own classrooms to train their own medics."
"It's a tough course" said Qiass. "But, in the end, we learn what will enable us to save more lives while conducting operations out in the field.
Other forward operating bases throughout the 3rd Inf. Div. area are scheduling combat medic courses to assist in increasing the survivability of the Iraqi Army as they assume responsibility for their own security."