Up-Close: Iraqi Special Operations Forces in training
Special Operations Task Force lays ground work for new partnership with local ISOF
By U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shanda L. De Anda, Special Operations Task Force – West
AL ASAD, Iraq – U.S. Special Operations Forces visited the Al Anbar Iraqi Special Operations Forces training compound in Al Asad, Iraq, March 26 to initiate training efforts and build on a relationship which began weeks in advance.
The common goal of protecting Iraqi people and ensuring the safety and security of Iraq was evident as the foundation of this newly forming partnership and the mutual spirit of camaraderie aided the flow of conversations. Discussions gave way to a demonstration of skills as the ISOF commander appeared enthusiastic about demonstrating the abilities of the Soldiers under his command.
“(Collectively) these are operators, many of which have combat experience,” said the ISOF commander. “They have experience in many areas including helo operations and perimeter defense.”
The Soldiers demonstrated their efficiency in weapons handling, command and control perimeter defense, building-clearing procedures and the actual detention and transport of a simulated criminal. This demonstration provided the first opportunity for USSOF to evaluate the skills Soldiers already have and determined how best to tailor academics and combat skills training to build on that foundation.
“They have the basic skills and movements,” said the USSOF detachment commander.
The USSOF detachment operations chief, who has had experience training other Iraqi Security Forces partners, agreed, adding, “They are better equipped and have a better logistical system than some of the other ISF units I’ve worked with.”
Taking the established skill-set foundation and the basic logistical system into consideration, the amount of time to accomplish the first phase of proposed advanced training may be minimal.
“Ideally the process will take about two months to take them from scratch to out the door,” said the USSOF operations chief.
“The most valuable part of this is that when we leave here, we’ll have partners we can train with in the future and who can support themselves logistically,” said the USSOF detachment commander.
“For me, the most rewarding part of this is seeing (these Soldiers) self sufficient and able to go out the door protecting their own people.”