ALI BASE, Iraq (AFNS) – The eight Iraqi men drove up to the Ali Base main gate in two sparkling clean, white Ford F-350 trucks, replete with police badges emblazoned on the doors and light bars on the roofs . Waiting to meet them were three Airmen in a joint explosive ordanace disposal rapid response vehicle.
The Iraqis surrendered their weapons as instructed and maneuvered their vehicles behind the JERVV to form a convoy to their classroom; a barren piece of desert suitable for detonating explosives.
These men had “Police” on their hats but “EOD” embroidered on their shirts. They’re the “bleeding edge” of those Iraqi citizens willing to stand up against forces conspiring to drag their country into more violence and unrest. They came to Ali Base to learn the finer points of disarming bombs.
“I have been doing this for two years,” said Iraqi police Capt. Mahmoud Sukalsiuk, the chief of the Iraqi EOD unit for Dhi Qar Province. “Here we train for new things from the Americans. They are very experienced.”
This seven-week EOD partnership mission brings the Iraqi EOD forces up to speed on the latest explosive disarming techniques. This knowledge will help them prepare to completely assume these duties after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.