Iraqi Civil Denfense Corps Graduate at Camp Muleskinner
Capt. Sean P Kirley, 2nd ACR Regimental PAO
— The Iraq Civil Defense Corps Academy at Camp Muleskinner graduated
its first class of guardsmen last week on Redcatcher Field.
from the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s first Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps class march to Redcatcher Field on Camp
Muleskinner during their graduation ceremony Jan. 9.
by Capt. Sean P Kirley, 2nd ACR Regimental PAO
The ICDC School,
run by noncommissioned officers and soldiers from the 2nd Armored
Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Battalion, 1st
Armored Division, puts newly recruited individuals through a rigorous
The new ICDC recruits eat, sleep, and train on
the academy grounds, staying fully immersed in the military environment
under the watchful eyes of the cadre. The workday begins at 4
a.m. for the students and usually does not wind down until about
For the cadre, hours are more strenuous, starting
at 3:30 a.m. and ending at 1 a.m. daily.
During the 140 hours spent at the ICDC Academy,
the students learned a myriad of tasks — from basic rifle marksmanship
to traffic control point operations.
The new students arrived to the camp wide-eyed
and full of anxiety. As they received their uniforms, one could
clearly see the seeds of pride being sown.
Brand new AK-47 assault rifles, still with plastic
covers on them, were issued to each student.
Smiles and excited words were exchanged by the
new ICDC recruits about how they looked with their new uniforms
It seemed that a party was going to ensue at any
moment, until the cadre came out and “introduced”
themselves to the students. It was made very clear at that point,
through highly amplified words echoed to the students by an interpreter
that the celebration would come on graduation day, when the long
week of training and mentoring was complete.
Until then, the orders came from the cadre, the
grounds would be kept clean, and everyone would keep quiet and
listen to the blocks of instruction.
There were no questions. The party was over.
The first day of classes, which covered legal
advice and regulations, was taught by Capt. Patrick Parson the
Regiment’s Judge Advocate General officer.
The second day consisted of basic first aid and
life saving skills.
One of the trainers asked how many students had
seen a gun shot wound at some time in the past. Almost every hand
During the first two days of training, drill and
ceremony was stressed very heavily. The students were introduced
to calling cadence, executing orders while marching and keeping
As the week progressed, the cadence calling was
turned over to the students.
During basic rifle marksmanship training, the
students were taught how to load, charge, fire, and clear their
weapons. The students went through a myriad of firing stances
— standing to prone. They went through a series of scenarios:
reacting to direct fire and traffic control points.
The evening of their last class day was spent
practicing for the big day: graduation.
With Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling, assistant division
commander for support, Col. Bradley May, 2nd ACR commander and
Lt. Col. John Curran, Regimental Support Squadron commander, observing,
the students marched onto the field.
With minimal time to practice the ceremony, the
platoons marched past the reviewing stand with precision.
They were proud of themselves, what they had accomplished,
and what they will accomplish.
“We have worked with these guys up in Sadr
City before this. We had a good feel for what they can do well
and what we have to work on at the Academy,” said Staff
Sgt. Shannon Doucet, 4th Platoon sergeant. “These guys are
the future of Iraq.”
Doucet will take this platoon back to 2nd Squadron,
2nd ACR, where they will provide a safe and secure environment
for the 2 million people of Sadr City, located in the northeast
section of Baghdad.
The ICDC Academy is driven predominately by junior
noncommissioned officers like Sgt. Rafael Arias, who was assigned
as 3rd squad leader of 4th platoon.
Pvt. Brandon Ritter was also assigned a squad
at the academy, proving that even our youngest, least experienced
soldiers are awesome leaders. The ICDC Academy Commander is Capt.
Mike Gautreaux and the noncommissioned officer in charge is Mater
Sgt. Johnny Mackenzie.
With the graduation ceremony at an end, the new
ICDC soldiers celebrated.
One platoon lifted one of their trainers, Sgt.
Danny Hill, unto their shoulders, shouting “Thank you, thank
you Sgt. Hill!”
They were feeling like soldiers, looking like
soldiers. But most importantly, after six days of training, they
were acting like soldiers.