Soldiers Conduct Skills Training for Iraqi Highway Patrol
By Army 1st Lt. Kyle Schreifer
Special to American Forces Press Service
BALAD, Iraq, May 13, 2008 A continued partnership aimed at enhancing the skills of the local Iraqi highway patrol has benefited local security.
Combat Outpost 9’s “Punisher 3” route security team, composed mostly of U.S. military police, conducted classroom training and practical exercises May 2-6 for more than 50 of the Iraqi highway patrol’s noncommissioned officers.
The NCOs were trained in basic leadership principles, pre-combat inspections, operation orders, traffic control point operations, vehicle searches and personnel searches.
“These are the skills they use every day, and seeing how much they have improved, I feel much more confident about being out on the [main supply route] with them,” said Army Sgt. Derek DeVeau, Punisher 3’s NCO in charge.
“I felt better finally being able to put a name to all the Iraqi faces I see at the checkpoints every day. It makes it easier to trust them to watch my back,” said Army Pvt. Christopher Freeman, a Punisher 3 gunner.
During the fourth day of training, Punisher 3 soldiers had lunch with the Iraqi highway patrolmen, and 1st Lt. Hanni, one of their shift commanders, took the opportunity to thank the U.S. soldiers.
“All of my men want you to know how much this training means to them,” Hanni said. “For many, it is the first formal training they have received, and it has made them much more confident in their ability to help protect the Iraqi citizens and American convoys that travel the road each day.”
After the training, the soldiers shook hands with the Iraqi highway patrolmen and promised them the training would continue weekly.
(Army 1st Lt. Kyle Schreifer serves in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team.)