TIKRIT, Iraq – After bringing Mosul terrorists to justice for more than three years, a group of highly trained Iraqis are preparing to operate without any assistance from coalition forces.
The 5th Emergency Response Battalion conducts raids with coalition forces advisors in and around Mosul to arrest kidnappers, assassins and bomb makers.
“Most of these guys will tell you straight out: they want their city back, and they want their country back, and that’s why they do it,” said a 5th ERB platoon sergeant.
During the 5th ERB’s first 18 months, coalition forces and U.S. State Department International Police Advisors coordinated 5th ERB’s missions locating improvised explosive devices and supporting other Iraqi units, he said. When they were not on missions, 5th ERB trained with the International Police Advisors and coalition forces to keep their skills sharp.
To prepare 5th ERB for training with U.S. Special Forces, we had the Iraqis take the lead during forced-entry missions, said an IPA team leader, who has been with 5th ERB since it was established. Once 5th ERB demonstrated proficiency in the basics, USSF partnered with them to teach them more advanced skill sets.
A year and a half later, the USSF role moved from honing the 5th ERB’s tactical techniques, which included close-quarters battle, evidence collection and arrests, to training and advising 5th ERB leaders.
A USSF combat advisor, who is currently serving his second tour with 5th ERB, said his role since the previous deployment has changed from training the unit, to teaching the non-commissioned officers to train their own.
“We continue to collaborate with Iraqi security forces as they shoulder more of the effort in defeating violent extremists in order to offer security to the people of Iraq,” he added.
The combat advisors are also teaching the leaders to gather intelligence and plan missions, allowing them the opportunity to lead missions independently.