By Lance Cpl. Jason Hernandez , Multi National Force – West
Marines and sailors with Military Transition Team 7 and Combat Logistics Battalion 46 conducted a partnered training session with Iraqi soldiers aboard Camp Mejid, Oct. 2, 2009.
The training program was put in place by MiTT-7 in order to offer the Iraqi soldiers advanced skills in metal working and fuel systems.
“We’re giving the Iraqi mechanics lessons on how to better maintain and repair their vehicles,” said Sgt. Nicholas A. Vincent, a quality control chief with CLB-46. “Today, the focus will be fuel systems, where we’ll take them through the entire fuel system of several vehicles.”
The lessons included basics such as refueling certain vehicles and the paths and processes the fuel goes through inside a vehicle. They also taught the Iraqi soldiers how to diagnose various problems with familiar fuel systems.
“We want to help them understand these systems as thoroughly as possible,” said Vincent. “They’re going to need these skills after we leave. If we teach them well enough, they’ll be able to pass on that knowledge.”
As the Iraqi soldiers assigned to Camp Mejid learned more of their trade as mechanics, others learned the skill of metal working. Though, for many Iraqis, welding and torch cutting are nothing new.
“From what we’ve seen here, the main thing they need is guidance,” said Chief Warrant Officer Tony R. Ulep, a motor transport maintenance officer with CLB-46. “We’ve got to show them how to weld safely and some advanced welding tips.”
Many of the Iraqi soldiers have some prior experience with carpentry, welding and basic vehicle repair. But, for the Iraqi soldiers going through the training, it was an eye opening experience.
The Marines of MiTT-7 brought over members of CLB-46 along with an actual oxy-acetylene torch kit, compressed gases and steel beams to be cut. Together, the Marines and IA soldiers operated the welding equipment and ironed out common errors Iraqi welders were making.
“It’s good that the Americans teach us what we need to know, it’s important,” said Cpl. Mohammed Jasim, a tire and undercarriage specialist with the 7th Iraqi Army Division. “We’re proud to be part of the process of bringing our country into a new era and beyond.”
While the Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines trained under the cool morning sun, they did so with the knowledge that the lessons which were taught and learned shall be carried on for several future generations of Iraqi soldiers.