‘First Lightning’ Battalion conducts maintenance training with 1st Iraqi Federal Police partners
BAGHDAD—Members of the Iraqi 1st Federal Police Division install a drive shaft on a Humvee as part of their hands-on maintenance training with G Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center at Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq, Mar. 5, 2011. The course consisted of 18 days of instruction covering every major component on the Humvee and provided classroom instruction with hands-on practical training exercises used to reinforce the skills taught. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. John D. Barry, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C)
Story by: 1st Lt. John D. Barry
BAGHDAD—Enhancing the abilities of the Iraqi forces to sustain their equipment has become a critical piece of the mission for U.S. forces in Iraq. Leaving behind a force able to provide security for the Iraqi population depends, in part, on developing the capacity to keep vehicles mission-ready.
As a way to ensure vehicle readiness, Soldiers from the 1st 'First Lightning' Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center have been working to expand the overall maintenance capability of the 1st Iraqi Federal Police Division at Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq.
The training was the initiative of Lt. Col. James Hall, an advisor with the battalion's Stability Transition Team and an Ozawkie, Kan., native. Through his coordination with the IFP leadership, the focus of the training was determined and a curriculum was established.
"The 1st IFP Div. requested more training on Humvee maintenance as an area they wanted to improve," he said.
Hall, along with G Company, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt.,—the battalion's forward support company—developed a maintenance training program for the 1st IFP Div. mechanics that specifically covered the Humvee.
The course consisted of 18 days of instruction, covering every major component on the Humvee through classroom instruction with hands-on practical training exercises used to reinforce the material covered.
The training used a "crawl, walk, run" approach and started with introductory training and then went through intermediate and eventually graduate-level training.
The 18 Iraqi mechanics who arrived on the first day of class brought along a myriad questions regarding the course curriculum and how the class would be structured. Many of the Iraqi mechanics said they were pleased to find out that the majority of the training would be conducted in the motor pool with a hands-on focus.
During the first week of training, the main focus was to introduce the Iraqi mechanics to the Humvee's various systems and gauge the level of experience of the IFP mechanics.
The intensity picked up during the second week as the Iraqi mechanics wrapped up the lecture portion of the training and began hands-on work on the Humvees. Many of the component parts of the vehicle were removed, inspected and discussed before being reinstalled by the Iraqis.
For many in the class, the highlight of the third week was the transmission class. Consisting of two days of assembly and disassembly of a Humvee transmission, the class brought with it many challenges. Many of the instructors felt their Iraqi counterparts benefitted greatly from the instruction and were fully engaged with the class.
"This course worked for them because it was held here at JSS Loyalty, the scheduling was somewhat flexible, and the graduates will be able to become trainers in their respective battalions," Hall said. "It has also been very encouraging to see the students' level of enthusiasm and active participation in the class."
The last week of instruction included practical exercises regarding regular checks and services, brake troubleshooting and a graduation ceremony to honor the work of the trainees. At the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, IFP 2nd Lt. Muhammad Ahmed Salman, with the 1st IFP Div. and a Baghdad native, was grateful for the training team.
"On behalf of Iraqi police command, I would like to extend our thanks for this great training," he said.