The following was released by Spc. Ricardo Branch of the 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Brigade Combat
Team Public Affairs Office:
RAMADI, Iraq (April 27, 2007) - The troops arrive at a small town on the outskirts of Ramadi. They could rush out and engage the enemy at a moments notice, but their job today is different - to train Iraqis to save lives.
For the Soldiers from Company A, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor, it's all about helping the Iraqis to help themselves. The Soldiers latest effort was training local Provincial Security Forces in basic medical care during a visit to one of their stations April 23 at Hamidia.
"We've been working with the PSF here for the last two and a half weeks to get them better prepared to handle situations in their area," said Sgt. Charles Dinkins, a tanker with Co. A, 3-69 Armor. "Today, we're showing them basic medical aid to help their buddies out on the battlefield."
The Soldiers taught the Iraqis airway movement, the different types of bleeding, how to stop bleeding, and how to administer air tubes to restore oxygen flow in the body.
"They are catching on real quick with airway movement and knowing that oxygen is a valuable part of life," said Spc. Michael Darby, a medic from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment attached to Co. A, 3-69 Armor.
He said that with the training, Iraqis understood most of the lessons but had an easier time when it was more hands on for them. "They were grasping the material real fast, but when we went into the different types of pharyngeal tubes and how to use them, it was a bit difficult until I demonstrated on one of their own," said the 39-year-old Texas City, Texas, native.
The Soldiers said they view their new mission as a big step forward from how they operated with the Iraqi Security Forces in previous deployments. "I've worked with Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army ..., but I've never dealt this close before with the Iraqi Security Forces," Dinkle said. "We're working on a more personnel basis with these guys over here. We work with them almost every other day and see them just like us minus the training, but they are getting it down very quickly."
Darby said that with this new training he sees lots of hope these days for Iraq in the future. "If we give them the tools to protect themselves, their family, friends and neighborhood, maybe we won't have to come back in the future," said the 24-year-old Memphis, Tenn., native.
While the training was being conducted each PSF battalion in Hamidia, sent over their most qualified medical personnel. "We trained 17 personnel today with prospects for another 17 in two to three weeks," Darby said. "The idea is to have as many security personnel trained in the most basic combat medicine as possible."
"This is really a two-fold mission," he said. "One, is ridding the Anbar province of insurgents, and two, is better training and equipping the Iraqi Security Forces we work with, so they can maintain what we've done here together."
As the day came to a close, and the last Iraqi left the training, the Soldiers see their work as part of the growing effort to improve security for Ramadi, one little piece at a time.