“This is the first time for many of my men to be on the water,” said IA Lt. Amjed Nahir, through an interpreter. “We hope to learn quickly and begin the transition process.”
“We’re giving the IA training classes on boat operation procedures, and they are very eager to learn,” said Cpl. Keith Hernandez, 24, a team leader with Company L in charge of training the IA. “They are demonstrating and applying what they have been taught on the operations.”
The experience level of the soldiers varies, but every soldier will learn the basics so that they will all be capable of handling water operations. Operations will range from searching other vessels to tracking insurgents.
“First, my soldiers must learn how to use the military boats, and secondly, we must learn this new terrain in and out,” said Nahir.
During the first patrol, the Riverines planned and executed a scenario to see how the IA would react.
“While on the lake, the sailors threw a curveball at the IA — they performed an emergency stop while going at full speed to see how the IA would respond,” said Hernandez, a native of Houston. “From what I saw, they responded well. They remained calm and followed their techniques, tactics and procedures.”
Although the IA’s mission was accomplished for the day, they looked to the future for more joint and independent missions.
“When the day’s mission was over, the soldiers were excited to return and conduct further operations,” said Hernandez. “These guys are great. They love their country and want to see it flourish.”
“I see my soldiers listening to the Coalition Forces for advice, and learning almost everything from them,” Nahir added while observing his men in action. “We are now trying to fully operate without the aid of the Coalition Forces.” Photos/story Cpl. S. Coolman