Another Class of Iraqi Civil Defense Corps Ready to Lead

By Sgt. Susan German. 122nd MPAD

Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers celebrate the completion of the inaugural Primary Leadership Development Course with one of their instructors, dill sergeant Staff Sgt. Carlos Clark

DoD Photo

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps officially welcomed its NCO “backbone” during graduation ceremonies for the first Primarily Leadership Development Course March 11.

The NCOs completed the first class of the Primary Leadership Development Course conducted in Iraq by the United States Army.

The ceremony was held at the Camp Muleskinner, which is home to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Support Squadron. The regiment is part of Task Force 1st Armored Division.

One hundred sixteen ICDC soldiers participated in the historic ceremony. The program followed the U.S. Army’s traditional ceremonial sequence of events.

It began with the arrival of the official party, which included members of the cadre, as well as guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bush, 1st Armored Division command sergeant major.

Following the national anthems of the United States and Iraq, the new noncommissioned officers recited the NCO creed and charge in their native language.

“You are the history makers of this great country,” Bush told the NCOs.

He and Master Sgt. Johnny McKenzie, the NCO academy commandant, presented diplomas to the soldiers. As they walked through a receiving line, their chevrons were “wetted down,” following an NCO tradition.

Fifteen Training and Doctrine Command drill sergeants from Fort Sill, Okla., led the trainees through a 113-hour program of instruction (POI). The course focused on six areas: leadership, communication skills, maintenance, professional skills, military training and military studies. Emphasis was placed on leadership and professional skills.

Following a strict training schedule, the Iraqi soldiers practiced drill and ceremony and conducted physical training during the two-week course. Every classroom had an interpreter and instructional slides were presented in both English and Arabic. Soldiers were required to take a written exam and also received periodic counseling to evaluate their progress.

The initial course was opened up to soldiers serving in senior leadership positions such as platoon sergeant through sergeant major. Attendees were recommended for the course by their U.S. Army partners. Most served in leadership positions to prepare them for attendance in the class. Medical screening and background checks were conducted before soldiers reported for class.

“The general theme of the course was “BE KNOW DO.” Three simple words that the (Iraqi) Soldiers could speak, are easy to remember and when you apply the concept to the NCO corps, that’s what we expect,” said Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, the 1AD operations section sergeant major (G3).

The drill sergeants said they were pleased with the progress made by their students. They learned basic commands in Arabic, but depended on interpreters to relay their messages. Drill sergeant Staff Sgt. Richard George said the cadre ensured that commands were understood correctly was through repetition of every task.

The respect that the ICDC soldiers had for their instructors became evident during the post-ceremony celebrations. The new NCOs hoisted their drill sergeants onto their shoulders while chanting traditional Iraqi cheers and songs as they carried them around the hall.

The ceremony marked a new beginning for the NCOs and their country as they assumed leadership positions in their nation’s defense, Davenport said.

“I’m very excited about it,” Davenport said. “They’re very eager to assume their new role.”