Members of the 447th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron spent several weeks in March and April training 12 Iraqi security forces airmen from New Al Muthana Air Base on force protection techniques.
Fourteen security forces members trained the Iraqis on procedures and techniques used every day by the U.S. Air Force.
“They’re getting the basics they need to understand the base defense process, said 1st Lt. Jacob Stephenson. It’s basically straight out of our curriculum.”
The instructors taught base-protection measures including combat tactics, combat -ife saver procedures, duties while-on-post and made sure the Iraqis were qualified on the AK-47, the Iraqi air force’s weapon of choice.
Among the instructors were Senior Airman Branden Smithwick and Staff Sgt. Tyler Elliott – both currently assigned to the 447th ESFS. Normally protectors of the base themselves, they had the opportunity to teach the Iraqis what they do every day.
“I expected them to be kind of like I was in technical school, where they have the basic information, and we would expand on it,” Smithwick said. However, as classes started, it became apparent that wasn’t the case.
“The level they were at was a lot more advanced than we expected,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Elliott. “That allowed us to step up the training.”
The Iraqi airmen didn’t stop impressing there, he added. They continued to show their experience throughout the course.
As training culminates in graduation, the certified Iraqi students of this class will become the instructors.
Just 10 days after graduation, they begin a new course where they will teach other Iraqi air force security forces members what they learned here. This begins what Lieutenant Stephenson said he expects to be a continuing effort.
“We’re training them so they can help train other Iraqi security forces,” he said. With these students becoming the instructors, the Iraqi air force is postured to produce future generations of defenders.
“We’re ensuring they’re at our level before we leave,” Lieutenant Stephenson said.
Iraqi air force security forces now have the tools to protect their airfield, both now and long after the U.S. Air Force transitions out of Iraq.