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Fort Leonard Wood's 94th Engineers train Iraqi Army NCOs
Fort Leonard Wood's 94th Engineers train Iraqi Army NCOs

A senior Iraqi non-commissioned officer guides junior NCOs through a practical exercise during the first NCO development course introduced to the 3rd Iraqi Army Division engineer regiment NCOs (Photo by Pfc. Adam Carl Blazak)
AL KISIK, Iraq (Sept. 20, 2008) — The 3rd Iraqi Army Division engineer regiment's non-commissioned officers began its first NCO development course at the division headquarters at Forward Operating Base Al Kisik, on Aug. 25, with the training goal to enhance leadership techniques for the Iraqi army.

More than twenty NCOs participated in the five-day training, which covered Army leadership, the history and role of NCOs, the IA soldier, the NCO creed and combat orders.

"We're going to help develop the role of the NCOs," said New Salem, N.D. native, Sgt. Maj. Henry J. Gerving, one of the lead instructors for the training. 

"We're tightening the partnership with the 3rd Iraqi Army Division," Gerving added.

Furthering the relationship between the IA and the U.S. Army was just one bonus of the training. "This is a two-way learning situation," Gerving mentioned. "We're learning a lot about the IA's capabilities and limitations."

This training is important because it helps fill in the gaps between the NCO leadership styles of the old and new Iraqi army, said Macon, Mo. native, Sgt. 1st Class Steve W. Laire, the course's lead instructor with Headquarters Support Company, 94th Engineer Battalion.

"In the old Iraqi army there was an oppression on soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Abood Taraq Abood, a student with 3rd IA Engineer Regiment. "Now, if NCOs respect their soldiers, then the soldiers will respect them back."

One definite hope is the NCOs leave this course with the knowledge of how to work through problems by applying the soldier and NCO Creeds, Laire added.

"It's important for my NCOs to become leaders," said Maj. Muhammed Shukr Ahmed, an officer in 3rd IA Division Engineer Regiment, "though it will take time to develop their leadership."

"The training helped the NCOs with commanding their soldiers," said Col. Jassim Mohammed Khalid, the commander of 3rd IA Division Engineer Regiment. 

"We depend on NCOs as platoon leaders," Ahmed mentioned. "They are the ones who will be out on missions." 

With a new army giving NCOs more responsibility and authority, Iraqi soldiers are keen on learning from leadership styles, which have proven to work in past events.

"Their NCO history has been broken," Laire said. "But the years of history we have in our NCO corps can benefit them." 

"This training is very important," said Cpl. Muhammed Khalaf Dakheel, a student with 3rd IA Engineer Regiment. "After each lecture, I review the material, which was taught. I have more confidence in the NCO Creed and Soldier's Creed."

Throughout the course, junior NCOs worked hand-in-hand with their higher ranking sergeants to provide examples of leadership and work through scenarios. 

"The senior NCOs in the class are building a band with the junior NCOs," Laire added. 

"The junior NCOs giving more respect to senior NCOs shows we had success," Laire mentioned.

A wide range of leadership styles and concepts were introduced to the NCOs who were eager to learn better techniques to better themselves as leaders.

"We made the course material relevant to their situation." Laire said.

"The best thing taught in the class was the development of the NCOs and counseling soldiers on a regular basis," Abood noted. "Junior NCOs need to respect themselves more to become better leaders."

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