Airmen enable Iraqi police training
By Senior Airman Jason Ridder, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 15, 2006
MOSUL, Iraq --
In a small outpost in the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul, about 50 Airmen provide a safe, secure, and professional environment at the Mosul Public Service Academy to enable the training of a competent, effective and professional Iraqi Police force.
The Airmen at the MPSA have the chance to interact with the students who will become one of the stabilizing forces in Iraq.
“These Airmen will be able to tell their children and grandchildren that they had a part in training the police force responsible for securing Iraq,” said Chief Master Sgt. Layton Clark, 332d Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief, during a recent visit to the Academy.
There are challenges the Airmen have to deal with on a daily basis, but those challenges often provide an opportunity for them to expand their horizons and learn from their students.
“Policing in Iraq is much different than it is in the United States,” said Maj. Jeffrey Prindle. “There are a lot of tactics, techniques and procedures we use in the United States that are not applicable in police operations in Iraq.”
In order to become more effective instructors they had to take the time to learn from their students and counterparts on the Iraqi Police training staff.
The team has learned valuable lessons on Iraqi culture and history, as well as tactics and practices of the insurgents.
Through a process of sharing information the Airmen are able to improve their current practices.
The compound the Airmen live in is isolated from other American installations; they have had to make the best of their living arrangements. They spend a large portion of their off-duty time looking for ways to improve their living standards.
“They have built recreation areas, acquired books, games, and movies,” Major Prindle said. “They also spend time working out in the gym, playing cards, dominos, and horseshoes.”
The Airmen also spend time using sharing their limited connections to the outside world calling and e-mailing friends, family and home stations.
The MPSA is located several miles from Life Support Area Diamondback, where many of its supplies come from. Two Airmen at MPSA are attached to LSA Diamondback and handle logistics and life support for MPSA’s Airmen and international police trainers. A team of security forces Airmen convoy to and from the outpost through the dangerous streets of downtown Mosul in order to keep the post supplied.
Before a recent trip from the MPSA to LSA Diamondback, an NCO from the convoy team gave a briefing to the rest of the Airmen telling them the status of the route they would be taking.
“Two hours ago there was an IED on the route,” the NCO said. “About an hour and a half ago there was an RPG attack, and just five minutes ago there were reports of small arms fire. Be careful and keep your situational awareness.”
The Airmen were on their way to get supplies, including fresh fruits and vegetables—a rarity for the Airmen of the MPSA. After the briefing, they climbed into their vehicles for the trip back to LSA Diamondback.
Although there were a few tense moments, the trip was mostly uneventful, which was a relief to the Airmen who have seen their fair share of attacks during their six months in Iraq.