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Preparing to assume security over Lake Qadisiyah and the Haditha Dam, Iraqi police practice recovering from a capsized boat during a 21-day boating course held by Riverine Squadron 3, Detachment 2, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

Iraqi Police shake, rattle and row

18 Jul 2008 | Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

The six-man boat jetted around the small dock near the dam in Haditha. The Navy Riverines with Riverine Squadron 3, Detachment 2, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 and the Iraqi Police were using the small boat as they reviewed basic boating techniques.

The Riverines held a 21-day course to give a group of Iraqi policemen some experience in patrolling the river and lake near the Haditha dam.

“Since in the near future we will be turning over security of the dam and Lake Qadisiyah (to the IP), it makes sense to train them so they will be successful,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason A. Nolte, 28, from Lisbon, Ohio, who is an instructor with Riverine Squadron 3.

The course covered skills such as docking, basic maneuvering, capsizing and recovery, among other things.

“We showed them how to run both the outboard and jet-propelled boats, and we showed them how to execute an approach when performing an interdiction,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua J. Sundsmo, 24, from St. Paul Minn., who is an instructor with Riverine Squadron 3. “When they finish this course, they should be confident in their driving skills and their abilities to handle most situations they will encounter when patrolling the river.”

The training would usually start off in the classroom where an instructor would review the information with the aid of an interpreter.

After the class, the instructors would give an example of what they wanted to happen and then let the Iraqi policemen try it.

“On the first day, they were a little skeptical and timid to drive the boats, but by the end of the first few days, they couldn’t wait to get out on the water,” said Sundsmo.

This is the first group the Riverines have taught, but it is sure not to be their last.

“We will continue to hold classes and train the IP as long as we are here,” said Lt. j.g. Charles P. Leary, 26, from Dallas, an instructor supervisor with Riverine Squadron 3.

The next group to go through the training is scheduled to pick up soon after the present class graduates, but with a few adjustments and improvements.

“We are translating some of the presentations into both English and Arabic and we are hoping to have a few of the graduates stay back and help us with the training,” said Nolte.