SOLLIMS Sampler Volume 10, Issue 1 - Page 28

  area, a makeshift kitchen, and a small company command post (CP) with redun- dant communications (FM and TACSAT). Force protection measures were significant. Some checkpoints had towers. All had extensive blast protection and denial measures. Checkpoints took an average of 25-30 days to construct and be force protection ready for occupation. Checkpoint Operations:    Checkpoints served four purposes: 1) build confidence and relieve tension at flashpoints along the disputed line; 2) show the local population that Arab and Kurdish security forces were working together; 3) control traffic; and, 4) serve as a patrol base from which to execute combined security patrols on both sides of the lines. Checkpoints ran traffic control and random searches, as well as executed “be on the lookout” (BOLO) and intel-driven local operations. Also, U.S. forces sometimes used micro grants in areas where influence was needed. On a combined security patrol, the leadership could introduce the “Golden Lions” and say, “We’re here to protect you, how can we help, what do you need?” That was huge in the impoverished areas of Kirkuk and Diyala provinces – paying off significantly. Patrols started gaining information and were seen by the local populace as the hope for the future. Training:       It took about ten days to build two training centers – one on a corner of Camp Marez (in Ninewa), the other at the end of the airfield on Camp Warrior (in Kirkuk). U.S. forces provided the training cadre, determined the Mission Essential Task List (METL) (for running a checkpoint, executing day/night foot and mounted patrols, and defending a position), selected training areas, built Situational Train- ing Exercise (STX) lanes, conducted a dry run with U.S. troops, and scheduled a start date for the training. The training audience was a Combined Security Force – Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga, and U.S. troops. Essentially three platoons were trained together, as one force for a given checkpoint. Training duration was about three weeks. U.S. forces led all training. All the troops arrived at the same time at the training center: Picture a large formation (about 90 personnel) of Iraqis, Kurdish Peshmerga, and U.S. troops in ranks, placing their gear on the ground, getting inspected by U.S. leaders (with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga peer trainers) for completeness (especially weapons, personal protective equipment, and cold weather kit), being assigned to tents, holding platoon leader meetings, platoon leaders passing instructions on to their personnel, and then eating together (with cultural food considerations). Each training day started with physical training and then moved on to a given METL task. The training approach was to “crawl, walk, run” through STX lanes as a combined force for each of the METL tasks. Training included certain intangibles: The force was given an identity (“Golden Lions”) and an ethos (“Ethos of the Golden Lion”); each company-size force did Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 27 of 36