Peshmerga forces have been fighting side-by-side with U.S. forces since 2003, and select members of the 1st Kurdish Regional Guard Brigade started basic infantry training, run by U.S. troops at a headquarters in Laylan, near Kirkuk, Iraq, June 14.
The training is being facilitated by their brothers-in-arms: Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, ‘Gunners’ 3rd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas.
More than 50 KRGB non-commissioned officers and officers are participating in the training and are set to graduate mid-August, according to Cpl. Anthony Millsap, a Bravo Battery Soldier who is responsible for training the Peshmerga.
During training they will learn infantry skills, proper care and use of their weapon and other battlefield techniques, Millsap said.
“They are already picking up on the training very quickly,” Millsap added.
The first sergeant of Bravo Battery explained that the Peshmerga are picking up quickly because this group was handpicked by their leadership.
“Our concept for this training is to train the trainer,” said 1st Sgt. Bobby Bennett, with Bravo Battery and the senior enlisted trainer. “In order for this concept to work, we brought out a select group of Pesh.”
Picking the right individuals to receive the training was key, because they will go back to their units to train their own forces.
Leadership of the KRGB said they are very appreciative of the training.
Sgt. Maj. Harked Alimase Halmasala said he is thankful because he has lost many men on the battlefield due to their lack of training.
“We fight as we train; now we are training well, so we’ll fight well,” he said.
Millsap said he believes this training will do more than give the Peshmerga skills needed for the battlefield.
“This training gives the Pesh a sense of courage and confidence; it also prepares them to take over the security in the area,” he said.
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs