WASHINGTON — US forces in Iraq are training Iraqi troops to perform complex combined arms maneuvers involving armor, air and artillery support along with critical IED detection techniques, a senior enlisted soldier just back from Iraq says.
"It's a first-rate facility and they have plenty of training areas. They have a good vision on where they're going with it. Their vision is about producing EOD personnel that are pretty highly trained."
"They're dispersed, they're using their armor and integrating their indirect fire assets and air assets, their engineering assets. They're bringing it all together to make them more survivable in combat. This isn't easy stuff," he said.
The focus on IEDs is critical, with tough urban fights in Tikrit and Mosul looming on the immediate horizon. But it's not only an Iraqi problem.
"This is the normal condition of the battlefield. There are not many places in the world where you're going to go where you're not going to encounter [IEDs]. You're going to have to understand how to deal with this," Carabello said.
"The tables are turning," said Col. Wayne Marotto, a CENTCOM spokesman.
The Iraqis are struggling to keep up with the sheer number of buried bombs, which has stalled the expected operation to push into the city and clear it of what is expected to be several hundred extremists.
The US-led coalition has pounded the city with airstrikes over the past several days.
Across the five coalition training sites, the Iraqis are "being brought up to basic standards" and are being taught how to integrate fires, armor and air assets, as well as how to sharpen their medical evacuation procedures and, critically, how to push their engineering and sapper assets out in front of their infantry units to scour for buried bombs.
So far, the Iraqis have struggled to keep up with the sheer number of IEDs, which has stalled the expected operation to push into Tikrit and clear it of what is expected to be several hundred IS extremists.
The US-led coalition has pounded the city with airstrikes over the past several days in order to soften up resistance, but as US forces have seen in places like Fallujah, Sadr City and Najaf, it is going to take ground forces to clear the cities house by house, and IED by IED.
Since its inception in 2006, JIEDDO has been funded through the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, but in fiscal 2017, it'll find a home in Big Army's base budget.