U.S. Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, Task Force Al Asad, facilitated a Counter Improvised Explosive Device class for members of the Iraqi Army to teach them basic IED reaction and mitigation skills at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Jan. 18, 2015.

Coalition forces have initiated a six-week program as part of a Building Partnership Capacity mission designed to train Iraqi Army units in various tactical subjects to include CIED, medical care, and combat movement techniques.

“They asked for Counter-IED training, they made it one of their priorities,” said U.S. Marine Chief Warrant Officer 2 Juan Rodriguez, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer with SPMAGTF-CR-CC, TF Al Asad. “If we’re able to teach their subject matter experts, they will have that resident knowledge within their battalions.”

The CIED class given to the Iraqi soldiers was just a foundation and a pre-cursor to more advanced information they will be learning, said Rodriguez.

“We’re going to see more of the basics as a larger group, but also integrate those key items, or critical subjects that they asked for, like medical and Counter IED,” said Rodriguez.

U.S. Army Cpl. Michael Smith, Explosive Ordnance Technician, TF Al Asad, assisted in teaching the classes and affirmed the need for this kind of training.

“This is important to them because Daesh is shooting a lot of rockets and other ordnance around, so a lot of them dud out, they don’t go off,” said Smith. “It’s very important not to just go up to ordnance and pick it up because they could have placed it there and booby trapped it.”
Rodriguez said the BPC mission is focusing largely on helping the Iraqis become more independent and able to train each other in these key combat skills.

“Really what’s important is them putting their best soldiers forward, because those guys are going to be kind of training the trainer types within their battalions,” said Rodriguez.

He maintains high hopes that the training schedule ahead is well planned and should provide the information necessary to prepare the Iraqi soldiers.

“If we are able to spend that quality time with them, they will have that resident knowledge in their battalions when they move forward and it’ll just be up to them to sustain that knowledge by setting up their own training,” said Rodriguez.

In the coming weeks, members of the BPC team will continue training the Iraqi Army in various combat-related subjects to help them become a formidable and self-sufficient fighting force.