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2nd BCT helps Iraqi army recruit
Forces draw in 500 soldiers
2nd brigade Iraq 2
An Iraqi soldier searches a prospective recruit. - photo by Photo by Spc. Dustin Gautney
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq — The early morning sun shone bright on the sides of a highway, lighting a path for nearly 1,000 Iraqi nationals running along the shoulder of the road.
The nationals weren’t run in fear. They ran toward their dreams of becoming part of the Iraqi army during a recruitment drive on Dec. 23.
Although nearly 1,000 attended, only 150 were chosen. During the four-day recruiting drive, approximately 500 became soldiers.
Things went well for the 1st “Desert Rogues” Battalion, 64th Armor, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, which is helping the 2nd Iraqi Army Brigade recruit new members, said Capt. Wes Wilhite, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-64th Armor.
“From start to finish, the plan for the recruitment drive was an Iraqi plan, coordinated by their commanders and executed by their officers and noncommissioned officers,” Wilhite said.
As part of the plan to assist the Iraqi army, members from 1-64th Armor supplied additional security at security points using the U.S. military’s handheld interagency detection equipment. The device allows users to photograph, fingerprint, perform retinal scans and verify credentials against previously gathered information.
“The HIDE is basically the final check for the locals during the recruitment process. After going through the security checkpoints and being medically screened, we have everyone go through the HIDE checkpoint,” said Spc. Gary Daniels, 204th Military Police Company, attached to 2nd HBCT.
Wilhite said the Iraqi army handled the recruitment drive professionally and efficiently, minimizing the need for U.S. military assistance.
“I feel that even if we were not part of the plan to assist in the recruitment drive, the event would still have been a success, which is a testament to the fine leadership of the Iraqi Army,” he said.
Lt. Col. Ross Coffman, commander, 1-64th Armor, agreed that the Iraqi army’s planning and execution of the event demonstrated how an Iraqi plan conducted by Iraqi leaders and soldiers leads to the best results for the Iraqi populace.
“The Iraqi army plan was so well designed that had we not been there at all the recruitment drive would have still been a huge success,” Coffman said. “The Iraqi Army is so well-led and trained to be able to execute a recruitment plan so large and over multiple locations that I can say I would be proud to stand side-by-side with our Iraqi brothers in any war.”
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