Infantry: August 4, 2004

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The U.S. Army is retraining its reserve infantry units before sending them to Iraq. New training courses concentrate on teaching skills that are specific to the kinds of situations they will encounter in Iraq. For example, troops fire more ammunition in a few weeks than they  normally do in two or three years. The trainers, most of whom have served in Iraq, demonstrate the firing positions typical in Iraq (like firing from a hummer or truck.) Special first aid training emphasizes treatment of wounds common in Iraq (like those from roadside bombs.) Troops also go to the NTC (National Training Center), where several hundred Arab-American (most of them immigrants from Iraq) civilians act as Iraqi civilians in several different scenarios. This way the troops get to experience dealing with Iraqis under realistic conditions (in mock Iraqi villages or towns), and then have the Arab-American trainers critique them on their performance in English. Most of the Iraqi-American trainers have friends and family in Iraq, and keep up on changes in civilian reactions to American troops, and update their training scripts. The troops also get courses on Arab culture and, from troops have already served in Iraq, what to do, or not do, to get the best results. The culture specific training pays big dividends for troops manning roadblocks, raiding Iraqi homes or dealing with hostile crowds. 

This sort of thing gets little attention, but plays a major role in keeping American casualties down. Its also helping Iraqi police and soldiers, who are getting similar training on the technical aspects of fighting on the road, or in the midst of typical Iraqi buildings. Youd think that the Iraqis would just know how fight in their own back yard, but Iraqi military training was never insightful or thorough enough. American trainers are changing that, and the Iraqi police and para-military forces are a lot more effective as a result. 

 


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