Task Group Taji 4 is helping the Iraqi Army to build its Special Forces’ Rangers capability by offering bespoke ‘train-the-trainer’ courses as well as training in weapons handling and infantry tactics.
CAPTION: Iraqi Army Rangers practice firing at extended ranges with a Dragunov sniper rifle under the guidance of Australian and New Zealand Defence Force trainers from Task Group Taji 4 at Taji Military Complex, Iraq. Photo by Corporal Kyle Genner.
The training marks the culmination of five months’ collaboration between the combined Anzac Task Group and the Iraqi Army, which is seeking support from Australia and New Zealand to build capacity for stabilisation and security operations after the recapture of Mosul.
Task Group Taji 4 Training Team Leader Lieutenant Joshua Rousseau said the aim was to give members of the Iraqi Army’s Ranger Battalion the ability to train themselves and maintain high standards of professionalism into the future.
“At first, my team provided directed training to the Ranger Battalion, before transitioning to ‘train the trainer’ courses as part of our mission to build partner capacity,” Lieutenant Rousseau said.
“We’ve worked with them closely over the past five months and we’ve got to know them well.
“We’ve developed them as individuals and collectively, up to company-level operations.
“The Iraqi Ministry of Defence hopes to raise an entire brigade of these Special Forces to continue the fight against Daesh and maintain security, so our work is having an impact here.
“We’ve provided them with the tools that their officers and senior soldiers need to train and develop themselves.”
Task Group Taji has trained more than 22,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces since it began operations in May 2015, with the Special Forces Battalion among the most recent graduates.
The train-the-trainer courses are a key step in the evolution of Task Group Taji’s mission – designed to enable the Iraqi Security Forces to generate and maintain their own forces to a high standard.
For Corporal Tyson Lindley, an infantry section commander deployed with Task Group Taji 4 as a trainer, it has been very rewarding to see progression in the Iraqi soldiers’ skills.
“We began with infantry minor tactics, moved into more advanced operations, and now we’re moving into an instructor phase,” Corporal Lindley said.
“For example, we trained them on machine guns and then taught them how to deliver the same training to their own soldiers – they’ll now be able to conduct training of their own forces.
“The ‘train the trainer’ package is critical for the Ranger Battalion to train, mentor and develop their own soldiers into the future.”
Ranger Battalion Platoon Commander Lieutenant Mohammad Fadel Abas Aldlaami said the Iraqi soldiers have reacted positively to the training which emphasises mutual respect between the Task Group Taji 4 trainers and trainees.
“We have been training with the Australian and NZ Army for several months now and they have shown us how to train ourselves,” Lieutenant Abas Aldlaami said.
“This is important for us into the future. They are helping us to prepare for operations after Mosul.”
Train-the-trainer courses will continue to be delivered by the next rotation of Australian and New Zealand Defence Force members, who take over from Task Group Taji 4 over the coming months.
Corporal Lindley said being deployed to Iraq has been rewarding.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I’ve developed personally,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the guys I work with.
“We get to do our job.”
+ + +