‘First Lightning’ Battalion Soldiers develop partnership through combatives certification
BAGHDAD—First Sgt. Michael Deatherage, senior enlisted adviser with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center and a Sweet Springs, Mo., native, briefs the standards for the ‘clinch drill’ to First Lightning Soldiers and 1st Iraqi Federal Police Division police officers May 14, 2011, at Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq. The ‘clinch drill’ is the final phase of combatives training, and participants must successfully apply a suitable clinch against an opponent who is allowed to strike at the participant while wearing 16 oz. boxing gloves. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Christopher Miles, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C)
Story by: 1st Lt. Donald Gillilan
BAGHDAD—Soldiers with 1st "First Lightning" Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center joined members of the 1st Iraqi Federal Police Division to congratulate Soldiers and 1st IFP Div. officers during a graduation ceremony at Joint Security Station Loyalty June 1 after they completed combined Modern Army Combatives Level 1 certification training.
"I am proud of what you accomplished and the sacrifices you made during this course," said Lt. Col. Andrew C. Gainey, commander of 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt. "Continue to build on your success, continue to trust in the partnership, and continue the respect and understanding of the sacrifices being made to make Iraq a safe place."
The combatives training course was the brainchild of First Lightning noncommissioned officers to give Soldiers the opportunity to become certified and also to promote camaraderie within their ranks. However, Sgt. Jaime A. Garcia, a human resources noncommissioned officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt. and a San Antonio native, wanted to extend this opportunity to Iraqi police officers involved with partnership training.
"This was the fourth class we have done since we have been in Iraq, and with the other classes, we saw the enthusiasm and cohesion the Soldiers displayed and built," said Garcia. "We wanted to show the Iraqis that intensive and challenging training lays the foundation of unit cohesion and camaraderie. I wanted this to be a great experience for the Soldiers and the Iraqis, and I wanted them to see their potential."
Many of the Soldiers involved with conducting the instructions for the combatives certification course had minimal experience training Iraqis. It would take practice by the instructors and interpreters to ensure they had the correct wording, so the different movements and techniques required in Army combatives would be concise and clear for them.
"I have some experience training with Iraqi Soldiers, so I knew it was going to be important for the combatives instructors to rehearse with interpreters," said Sgt. Zachariah A. Harvey, a personnel security detachment team leader with HHB, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt. and a Leroy, Minn., native. "We worked a lot with the interpreters, and we began with basic steps to Army combatives. The class had to move slower than normal because of the language barrier, but the Iraqis really showed that they learned a lot during the clinch drills."
During the ceremony, IFP leadership expressed their appreciation for the combatives training given by the "First Lightning" Battalion.
"Again, I would like to thank you, especially the instructors, for your great hospitality, and I would like to congratulate Soldiers and police officers on your excellent training," said IFP Col. Thamer Salmon Ali, the training commander with the 1st IFP Div. "An American friend once told me that when you give a man a fish, he eats for the day, but when you teach a man to fish, he eats every day. Thank you for teaching us how to fish."