Story and Photo by
Pfc. Jennifer Lowes
130th Engineer Brigade Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq — Thanks to U.S. Army training, four Iraqi army divisions have been learning how to counter improvised explosive devices before the IEDs can be used to attack Iraqi or U.S. forces.
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 12nd Iraqi army divisions each has one engineer officer participating in Army training.
Recently, an Iraqi officer met with 1st Lt. Manuel Orozco, the officer in charge of the 15th Engineer Detachment (Explosive Hazards Team), 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, for a week of training.
The Iraqi officer said he was excited to finish the class and use the new skills he had learned.
“Our goal is to make (Iraqi forces) more effective in finding IEDs in their area of operation,” Orozco said.
The curriculum maps where prior IEDs have taken place using grid coordinates, along with logs of previous attacks, including times and places.
The 15th Eng. Det. started preparing itself to conduct this training in September 2009 and began offering instructions in mid-October 2009.
“We don’t train a set number of days or hours,” Orozco said. “We train as long as it takes for our students to be proficient at what they do. Watching them become successful is the most rewarding part of my job.”
Understanding the Iraqi culture and being flexible with training is something that is a must for the 15th Eng. Det.
“Sometimes we have to adjust training because of schedule conflicts, but it’s all worth it in the end when (soldiers) get it,” he said.