Another 230 Iraqi soldiers have graduated from the Australia and New Zealand’s Task Group Taji (TG Taji) Military Complex’s Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy.
TG Taji’s Australian Commander, Colonel Matt Galton, said the graduation was the second NCO academy course supported by TG Taji and brought the total number of NCOs trained to some 430.
“The first NCO academy course with about 200 junior leaders graduated in late September. This latest graduating course of 230 was drawn from around 50 battalions from across the regular Iraqi Army,” COL Galton said.
Iraqi Minister of Defence, Doctor Kaled al-Obeidi and senior Iraqi Defence personnel attended the ceremony.
Australia’s Acting Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Stuart Smith, said junior leaders formed the backbone of an army.
“This academy builds the capacity of the Iraqi Army because it produces physically fit, disciplined, and confident soldiers to lead infantry squads on the battle field,” MAJGEN Smith said.
Training includes advanced medical instruction, weapons drills, marksmanship, navigation, leadership and small-group tactics.
Iraqi Army Private (Jundi) Khaled Abd Alrhman said the academy’s graduates took back to the wider Iraqi Army considerable leadership and training knowledge which iwa an important part of the Iraqi Army’s fight against Daesh.
“We have already seen Daesh lose the ground they once held in Iraq. God willing, with our own courage, the skills and expertise learnt from the Australian and New Zealanders mixed with our own training during the course we will defeat Daesh,” PTE Abd Alrhman said.
Elements of the regular Iraqi Army continue to be trained by TG Taji as part of the US-led international Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission in Iraq.
The BPC mission is one component of the international coalition’s efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh.
Task Group Taji’s BPC contribution is part of Operation Okra, the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the international effort to combat the Daesh terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria, and includes a Special Operations Task Group and the RAAF Air Task Group.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20153357
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