The May 22nd issue of The Eagle & Crescent runs this story about one of the less-glamorous things we’re doing in Iraq to help the Iraqi military stand up:
CAMP HABBINIYAH, Iraq -While most service members do their best to avoid roadside bombs or walk in the opposite direction of a known landmine field, a small community of American troops seek such threats head on, and they’re now training their Iraqi counterparts to do the same.
American explosive ordnance disposal technicians are overseeing the development of an EOD company in the Iraqi Army’s 1st Division, which is based out of Camp Habbiniyah.
Big news? No. Worthy of a headline? Not really. But still worth pointing out. It’s one of the many non-combat duties that the Iraqis need to take over before their military units can achieve the ‘Level 1’ ratings that indicate that they can operate on their own completely independent of any outside support.
The initial training was conducted by US contractors, but a joint-service EOD unit from the US military is stepping things up a notch. The area these guys are working in is believed to be a transit and staging area for insurgents operating in Ramadi and Fallujah. The local Marine EOD Company responds to 15-25 calls a day.
The Iraqi Bomb Disposal Company is currently working with the Americans to clean up an ammunition supply point last used by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Mortars, rockets, and various other munitions were strewn about when the bunkers were bombed in the initial invasion. Acres of twisted, rusty metal peppered with live munitions are all that
The ordnance must be cleared from the area to make the ASP safe again for future use.
The American advisers are using a hands-off approach in their training and observation – a sign of the burgeoning ability of the Iraqis to act and operate independently.
And this can’t hurt: Tips Lead Coalition Forces to IED Factory.