All 27 Iraqi Battalions “Operational”
According to the Defense Department, all 27 battalions of the Iraqi Armed Forces are now “operational” following the graduation of 1500 soldiers yesterday.
Graduation Means All 27 Iraqi Battalions Now Operational (American Forces Press Service)
With the graduation of nearly 1,500 soldiers at the Kirkush Military Training Base on March 20, all 27 battalions of nine brigades in the new Iraqi army are now operational. Graduations last week at Numaniyah sent more than 3,000 new soldiers to units throughout Iraq, officials said, and next week, another 600 soldiers are expected to graduate from the Iraqi Training Battalion Ã¢€“ adding roughly 5,000 new soldiers to the Iraqi army ranks.
The graduated soldiers are with the 13th, 14th and 15th battalions of the 5th Brigade, 3rd Division. They took an oath to protect their country, remain proficient in their soldiering skills, and obey the orders of their superiors during the graduation ceremony, the culmination of almost three months of training in basic soldiering skills at the base.
Ã¢€œTraining is an essential tool to a combat soldier,Ã¢€ said Iraqi Gen. Am Jad, deputy chief of staff for training for the Iraqi army, in addressing the soldiers. Ã¢€œBe sure to carry everything you have learned here onto the battlefield.Ã¢€ Am Jad urged the soldiers to be Ã¢€œdefenders of the defenseless.Ã¢€ He also called the graduation, and the completion of the force generation that began last summer, a new turning point for IraqÃ¢€™s army. He thanked the U.S. and coalition forces that make up a base support unit at KMTB for their help in training the soldiers.
I suspect “operational” is a bit short of “ready.” Completing initial entry training is but the first step to becoming a soldier. Still, given that training and recruiting centers have been a chief target of the terrorists, this is a major achievement.