Infantry: Iraqi Army Scouts

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July 30, 2008: The Iraqi Army has had problems with finding and training troops capable of mobile operations, and effective enough to work with American units. The U.S. troops move pretty quickly, and expect a high degree of effectiveness from those they do work with. To help solve the problem, the U.S. Army offered Iraqi commanders a special training course that would select the most capable troops, and train them to a higher standard. These troops would be called "scouts" and would be formed into companies (about 150 troops), but used mainly as platoons (20-40 troops). U.S. Army Special Forces and U.S. Navy SEALs often conducted the training, and only about 50-70 percent of those selected, finished the three month scout training.

Iraqi commanders used their scouts they way they often rely on American troops. That is, when an enemy location is raided, the scouts would be held back, to be used if enemy fighters had to be pursued. This was particularly necessary at night, when most raids took place. If a raid was a particularly complex and dangerous one, you could use scouts, whose superior skills and experience insured the operation was a success.

Each Iraqi division has at least one company of scouts. These troops have been available for several years now, and the terrorists and militias have tried to destroy them by attacking them or their families at home. Some scouts quit the army over this, and some were murdered (along with wives and children). Most scouts remained at their jobs, and the number of volunteers for scout training has increased.

 


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