« Semper Ride video set for Lejeune debut | Main | 31st MEU conducts exercise to prepare for Talisman Saber '09 »

Iraqi commandos show off their combat skills for MNF-W commanding general

CAMP YASSIR, Iraq – With flags waving high and feet pounding the ground in a steady rhythm, soldiers with Commando Battalion, 7th Iraqi Army Division, showed off their military talents during a demonstration aboard Al Asad Air Base, May 23, 2009.


Cpl. Jo Jones

“This event was a demonstration of the entire battalion’s training that they’ve received over the past three months,” said Robert Wise, a special operations foreign internal defense advisor with Military Transition Team 7. “The commanding general of the 7th IA Division wanted the commandos to be combat ready by the first of June, so this showed that they are all trained to the same standard.”

The demonstration came the day after the Iraqi commandos formally graduated from a month-long training course designed to hone their combat skills. Coordinated by the Marines and sailors of MiTT-7 and taught with the help of elements from the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8, the course covered topics such as advanced infantry tactics, land navigation, first aid, counter improvised explosive device techniques, urban warfare and air assault skills.

The Iraqi commandos marched around the entire parade deck, passing by a captivated audience that featured Maj. Gen. R.T. Tryon, commanding general for Multi National Force - West, and Iraqi Army Brig. Gen. Sabbah al-Maliki, deputy commanding general for the 7th IA Division. The soldiers also demonstrated martial arts techniques, captured role players posing as insurgents, and reacted to a simulated roadside IED.

Capt. Andrew Kressin, commanding officer with Company D, 3rd LAR Bn., said the live demonstrations went well and showed the Iraqi soldiers’ remarkable progress over a short period of time.

“The commandos have made a tremendous amount of progress,” said Kressin. “There were some challenges along the way, but now they all work together as a team.”

Wise said it was encouraging for both the Iraqi soldiers and the U.S. service members to see the general officers at the ceremony.

“This showed the Iraqi commandos and the Marines that what they have been doing has reached all the way out to MNF-W,” said Wise. “It made the commandos feel very proud of what they accomplished.”

Tryon expressed his satisfaction with the Iraqi Army’s performance, and said he has high hopes for Iraq’s future.

“I have every confidence that the soldiers of Anbar will continue to be at the forefront of their nation’s defense,” said Tryon.

Capt. Rusty Tuten, the operations officer for MiTT-7, said Marines and sailors have been able to develop good working relationships with the Iraqi commandos through these training courses, and he is confident that the Iraqis will be able to protect their country and people once Coalition forces leave Iraq.

“They’re ready to take the lead in Anbar, especially the 7th Division,” said Tuten. “They control over a third of the country, and they definitely demonstrated their combat power in this area.”
The latest commando course graduates will join their fellow Iraqi soldiers who completed their training in earlier iterations of the course and are now serving at the forefront of their nation’s defense.