Recruitment Drive for Iraqi Army Draws
U.S. Army Sgt. Lorie Jewell, Multi-National Security Transition
(CENTCOM) — An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 men arrived by foot, bus,
and other vehicles by sun up Feb. 14, at an airfield outside an
Iraqi Army base in an effort to join Iraq’s army, officials
Iraqi army recruit collects his uniforms, boots and other
gear as he makes his way through the base’s clothing issue
facility during an Iraqi army recruitment drive Feb. 14.
by Sgt. Lorie Jewell, USA / DoD Photo
Of that, approximately
5,000 made it through a screening process that led them onto the
base, which is home to several thousand Iraqi Soldiers and a contingent
of U.S. service members, officials said. Most will be transferred
to other bases in Iraq to supplement existing units.
was a result of the largest recruitment effort for the Iraqi Army
to date, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Woodley of the Multi-National
Security Transition Command-Iraq.
screening process, potential recruits were given a literacy test,
physical condition check and questioned about prior military service.
Once inside the base, they went through a medical screening and
received uniforms, boots and other military-related clothing.
Of those who
were turned back, or did not make it through the screening, leaders
told them to return for another recruitment drive.
showed up with proof that they were serving when Saddam Hussein’s
regime fell and they were subsequently released from duty. Former
Iraqi Army Maj. Hussien Ali Kadhun, 48, traveled about an hour
and a half by bus to rejoin.
to serve my country and fight the terrorists,” he said through
said he graduated from a military college in 1979 with a bachelor’s
degree in military science. He returned to school to study law
shortly after his release from the army in 2003.
Soldier, Hakeem Shaial Hassan, 27, worked as a farmer after his
first stint in the Army. It took him nearly four hours to get
to the airfield with a group of friends, looking for a job to
provide him and his family with a better income. New recruits
earn 420,380 dinars a month, or the equivalent about $212 in U.S.
dollars, officials said.
proud that I made it,” Shaial Hassan said through an interpreter.
“But I am sad that my friends did not. They will have to
go back home and tell their families they did not make it.”
officials were expecting a little more than 6,000 potential recruits.
U.S. military members from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and
Navy were joined by several civilian security personnel and a
few hundred Iraqi Soldiers stationed at the base. Several dozen
Iraqi Soldiers arrived at the base the day before and went right
to work early the next morning, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark Harvey,