‘Dragon’ battalion conducts traffic control training with Iraqi Army


Strengthening the partnership between the 6th Iraqi Army Division and B Company, 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center has been a daily goal for Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers alike.

As part of that, Soldiers from B Co. recently helped the 6th IA Div. soldiers increase their familiarity with traffic control point operations by providing subject-matter expert advisers and some basic training materials.

Traffic control point training was identified and requested during a regular meeting between 1st Sgt. Paul Nwoga, first sergeant of B Co., and IA Sgt. Maj. Mohammed, senior enlisted advisor of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 6th Iraqi Army Division.

The manner of the request was indicative of the growing partnership between the 6th IA Div. and B Co., as the request for the traffic control point training came from one senior noncommissioned officer talking with and sharing ideas with another.

“We share a professional training mentality,” said Nwoga. “(Mohammed) loves training and takes every opportunity to train his soldiers.”

The training event began with a formation held by Nwoga and Mohammed, where they addressed the 6th IA Div. soldiers and provided them with an overview of the training that they would receive, identified the instructors, and also gave a short brief on weapons safety.

The lead instructor, a sergeant with the 6th IA Div. commando battalion, first challenged the recruits to set up a traffic control point using only concertina wire and a few traffic cones. The sergeant also explained to the soldiers that not all traffic control points will be comprised the same way due to differences in road width, road composition, traffic flow and civilian interaction.

“It is up to you to determine (the situation) and use the terrain to your advantage,” he said to the soldiers.”

“I was impressed with the class’s emphasis on situational understanding and how they stressed to their new soldiers to ensure traffic can still flow,” said Sgt. Matthew Straub, a team leader with B Co. “Since I was last here during OIF 2008/2009, the Iraqi Army really has progressed in their tactics and understanding.”

The class was then challenged in a practical exercise to operate the checkpoint. Each of the IA soldiers had an opportunity to man the checkpoint and search a civilian pickup truck operated by a B Co. Soldier.

Soldiers with B Co. continually evolved the scenario by varying how the vehicle operator cooperated and what materials he had in the truck, forcing the students to react accordingly. At the end of each iteration, the IA instructors, and B Co. Soldiers participated in a joint after-action review to give each student the feedback and confidence needed to perform these operational tasks.

“It definitely seemed that the Iraqis wanted to be there and were eager to learn something,” said Spc. Luke Camacho, a team leader with B Co. “You could tell that they were enjoying the training as much as we were.”

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