AL-ASAD, Iraq --
AL-ASAD, Iraq (July 2, 2008) – A partnership formed here in April between Marines and Iraqi Soldiers, is thriving stronger than ever.
This partnership between the Intermediate Maintenance Activity section, Maintenance Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group and Soldiers with Maintenance Company, 7th Iraqi Army Division, is designed to teach Iraqi Soldiers how to become more proficient mechanics for their vehicles.
The IA has recently received several humvees they are being trained to operate and repair. The ultimate goal with the training program is for the Iraqi Soldiers to be self sufficient and know as much as the Marines do about the vehicles.
Warrant Officer Todd D. Klink, officer in charge, Maintenance Co., CLB-6, has been furthering the partnership by visiting Camp Majed (an IA camp inside Camp Al-Asad). Klink and his Iraqi counterpart, Warrant Officer Ali Hamid Ibrahim, head of maintenance, Maintenance Co., 7th IA Div., discuss what repairs their vehicles need.
The IA takes their vehicles to CLB-6’s maintenance lot for repairs where the Marines assist the Iraqis with repairs.
“We teach them how to troubleshoot problems and assist them in repairing their vehicles,” Klink said. “My mechanics don’t do any of the repairs whatsoever.”
Klink said this hands-on training is more effective than just reading from a book or manual.
“I learned by getting out on the truck,” Klink said. By putting the Iraqi Soldiers through the same training, it gives the two groups a mutual experience they both share.
Ali and his Soldiers appreciate the relationship they have with their Marine counterparts and the direct approach to learning how to repair their machines.
“That is one of the most important things for us to do,” Ali said. “To work with the Marines and learn from them.”
Marines with IMA have accomplished a lot during the partnership. Transmissions, differentials, flywheels and power steering pumps are just a few of the many repairs that Marines have assisted the Soldiers with.
“That is the best way to learn anything, to just do it,” said Lance Cpl. Michael D. Herring, mechanic, Maintenance Co., CLB-6.
Herring, from Fairfax, Va., said it has been a new experience using an interpreter to communicate with the IA. But even with the language barrier, the mechanics are all the same.
“We hope to keep this relationship with the IA,” said Sgt. Christopher L. Vanhoose, from Louisa, Ky., maintenance chief, IMA, Maintenance Co., CBL-6. “They are all great guys just trying to learn something new.”
Pfc. Balal Qdoray Asood, mechanic, Maintenance Co., 7th IA Division, is one of the Iraqi Soldiers working with IMA Marines.
“When I was a civilian, I was a driver,” said Asood, from Baghdad. “I used to know how to do some things on trucks, but here we get to perfect our skills.”
Asood said the Soldiers love to work as a team, to share the knowledge that both services have.
The experience the Iraqi Soldiers gain will save them valuable time when one of their vehicles needs to be repaired.
“Before, when a vehicle was down, it would have to sit in my shop for two-to-four weeks,” Ali said. “We would have to send it out for repairs if we didn’t have the tools. Now, we can fix our trucks within a week.”
As the partnership continues, Iraqi Soldiers will continue to learn new skills from the Marines they have learned to trust.