NINEWAH PROVIANCE, Iraq – In the eighth month of their deployment, the Sapper Soldiers of 591st Engineer Company, 326th Engineer Battalion, took head on a new training rotation of Iraqi Army engineers and Iraqi Police in Ninewah Province.
The 591st Engineers, who predominantly operated in the city of Mosul prior to June 30, began to take on an advisory role after the mission change. First Platoon, in particular, began a training partnership with the 3rd Federal Police operating on the west side of Mosul. At the same time, 3rd Platoon began a training and operational partnership with the 3rd Iraqi Army Division stationed to the west of Mosul near the city of Tel-Afar.
The partnerships were the highest priorities for the 84th Eng. Bn., the supporting unit of the 591st Eng. Co. while forward in Iraq.
The 1st Platoon and the 3rd Platoon wisely drew from their full kit bag as they trained their IA and IP counterparts on basic Improvised Explosive Device awareness and route clearance operations.
All three platoons of the 591st worked in a 6-month long partnership with the 2nd IA Division based out of Northern Mosul during the first half of the Sappers deployment to Northern Iraq. “The most important step that we took in the new partnerships was to evaluate how we operated with the 2nd IA in the beginning of our deployment,” said Sgt. Shaun Redden, 1st Squad Leader of 3rd Platoon.
Redden is on his third tour to Iraq and was a valuable asset in the training of the 3rd IA engineers. He taught numerous classes to over 40 Iraqi engineers and also conducted over a dozen joint operations.
“We learned that treating the Iraqis like our own Soldiers was the key to success,” he said.
The 3rd Platoon was, in fact, very successful in their partnership. They validated over 40 Iraqi engineers in route clearance operations. The two full platoons of Iraqi Engineers were very professional and conducted excellent missions. They had strong soldiers, NCOs and officers.
The partnership came to an end after a month of hard-nosed work, as bonds were built to last. At a farewell breakfast between the Iraqi and American platoons, the 2nd Platoon leader of the Iraqi’s, 2nd Lt. Salah, told his new friends, “We will miss you – we wish the partnership could continue forever!”
The 1st Platoon also had great success in training 40 Iraqi Police. The west side of the war-torn city has been a stomping ground for insurgency since the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It is very important that we take into consideration the history of the Iraqi Police with whom we will be training,” said 1st Lt. Adam Vogel, 1st Platoon Leader. “We were extremely impressed with the professionalism that the federal police displayed. They have been through a lot since the beginning of this campaign, and they were eager and attentive every single day. Their officers took notes while their soldiers sat intensely listening to the life-saving awareness tactics that we were teaching them. Their efforts are a great sign for the future of this city and of this nation.”