Iraqi Commando Training

The 10th Iraqi Army Division Commando Battalion conducted air assault training at the COS Garry Owen airstrip June 27-30.

Credit:  3rd Brigade Combat Team , 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs

Location: CONTINGENCY OPERATING STATION GARY OWEN, IQ

This four-day course, the final phase of a three-phase training initiative, was primarily developed by the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, and was designed to provide the 10th IA Division with independent air assault capabilities.

A different IA company conducted a day and night air assault mission each day. The training iterations consisted of aircraft loading techniques, flight operations, security for both pick-up and landing zones, and actions for clearing an objective, said Maj. Michael Bagully, transition team advisor, 10th Transition Team, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

“As the Iraqi air force continues to grow in size and capability, Iraqi helicopters will become more readily available for the Iraqi army’s use,” he said. “In turn, being able to rapidly move its forces around the battlefield will significantly increase the 10th Division’s operational capability.”

As Iraqi aircraft were not available to support the training, the 12th CAB supported it with two CH-47 Chinooks, said Capt. Egan O’Reilly, plans officer, 12th CAB.

The Iraqi leadership planned and conducted every phase of the training under the supervision of U.S. Special Forces soldiers. The 12th CAB primarily coordinated the aircraft for the training and served as observers and controllers, said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Meadows, plans noncommissioned officer in charge, 12th CAB, from Maybee, Mich.

“When the helicopters arrived at the landing zone, no U.S. personnel left the aircraft. Actions on the ground were completely led by the Iraqi company chain of command,” said Bagully.

The Iraqi officers were responsible for gaining accountability of their men, directing the loading and unloading of the helicopters, and leading their units through the actions on the objective.

Bagully pointed out that the training enabled the Iraqi forces to practice their planning procedures before a mission. In the future, he said, the Iraqi forces will be more comfortable planning for any future air movement.

Air assault operations have the potential to benefit Iraqi army efforts in several key ways, including rapidly responding to border threats and conducting security operations inside Iraq.

“Being proficient in air assault operations will allow the 10th Division to move this battalion rapidly around the battlefield in the near future, thereby gaining an increased freedom of maneuver and element of surprise over any remaining terrorists and insurgents in southern Iraq,” said Bagully.

  • Picture one shows a group of Iraqi soldiers, assigned to the 10th Iraqi Army Commando Battalion, exiting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter
  • Picture two shows Iraqi soldiers, assigned to the 10th Iraqi Army Commando Battalion, conduct assault operations after arriving to their objective in two CH-47 Chinook helicopters during the exercise.
  • Picture three shows a group of Iraqi soldiers, assigned to the 10th Iraqi Army Commando Battalion, exiting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a four-day air assault training event Credit:

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