The Macedonian Tendency: US Salute toMacedonian Soldiers

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

US Salute toMacedonian Soldiers

A salute to our gallant allies in Iraq:

RELEASE No. 20061005-03
Oct. 5, 2006

Iraqis graduate from Macedonian SF boot camp
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

By Spc. C. Terrell Turner
1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.

– Iraqi army soldiers from 1st Platoon, 5th Special Troops Company, 3rd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, graduated from the Macedonian-led basic combat training course Sunday at Camp Taji.

The course was designed by the Macedonian Special Forces Regiment, which is attached to 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to supplement the training the soldiers received in basic training and to allow them to better execute their daily missions alongside the Macedonian soldiers.

“For more than 16 days, we assisted the Macedonians in providing the Iraqi soldiers with additional combat training, to include marksmanship training, two ranges, a shoot house, structure clearing procedures and first aid,” said Sgt. 1st Class Russell Coughenour, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 3rd Bde, 9th IAD Military Transition Team. “We also focused on basic discipline and noncommissioned officer development during the training.”

Six MTT members and 28 Macedonian soldiers trained the platoon of 52 Iraqi soldiers from start to finish. The platoon will return to its area of operations to conduct military operations.

“It was fabulous,” said Coughenour. “They were a refined crew by the time they were done. They’re just a super bunch of guys.”

The training came to fruition after the Macedonian SF Regt. conducted an assessment of the Iraqi forces during some initial missions.

“Our job is to assist and advise the Iraqis,” said Capt. Zoran Ivanov, contingent commander, Macedonian SF Regt. “The training will allow them to be more confident and proficient in their training.”

The Iraqis seemed to appreciate the additional instruction.

“The training was tough, but good,” said Pvt. Ali, an infantryman with 5th STC, in his second year of service in the new Iraqi army. “I learned some new skills and they taught us things like self-confidence, duty, loyalty, respect and discipline.”

The soldiers are the first to go through the training, but not the last, Ivanov noted. Two more cycles of training are scheduled, which will mean 150 Iraqi soldiers will have gone through the additional training.

“I feel good that I graduated from this course, and I hope I will be able to fight the terrorists,” said Spc. Adel, infantryman, 5th STC. “I want my nation to be at peace.”

Ivanov said he recognized an almost instant change in the soldiers after they completed the training.

“They will go back to their units and begin going on missions after this,” he said. “The soldiers displayed lots of effort. They want to learn. At the end of the training, the difference was obvious. The ‘Scorpions’ of 5th Special Troops Company are completely different soldiers.”

The next graduating class is scheduled for late October.

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