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Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police teams sprint through clouds of smoke while fireman carrying simulated casualties during the Anbar Province Security Force Tactical Conditioning Competition at Combat Outpost Rawah, Iraq, Nov. 12. The competition was coordinated by Naval Special Warfare Detachment 5 and pitted teams of Iraqi Security Forces against each other in numerous fire and maneuver and physical training exercises that helped assess skill levels and build camaraderie between the forces.::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Sean Cummins

IP, IA compete at COP Rawah

12 Nov 2008 | Cpl. Sean P. Cummins

Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police fought tooth and nail, emptying magazines, assessing casualties and sprinting over berms at Combat Outpost Rawah Nov. 12.

This wasn’t a battle against insurgents, but the first ever Anbar Province Security Force Tactical Conditioning Competition, which tested the speed, strength, endurance and weapons competence of the soldiers and policemen.

Sailors with Navy Special Warfare Detachment 5 developed the competition to create a stronger bond between Iraqi Security Forces.  The competition consisted of teams of Iraqi policemen from Rawah and Iraqi soldiers with the al Qaim Iraqi Special Weapons and Tactics unit.

“You can’t have two security forces going after the same sort of (insurgent) or targets in their own home land without cooperating with each other,” said Lt. Chris, a member of NSW Detachment 5 whose name cannot be used for security reason. 

The event was about more than just being a competition, though. It also gave the Iraqis a chance to get to know how each of the forces operates, what they excel at and what skills need sharpening.

“We’re trying to get the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police to hopefully work together on actual targets and arrest people together.  The first step is just getting them to know each other and feel comfortable with each other,” said Chris.

The benefits of bringing the forces together were not lost in translation among the ISF.

“We can trade experiences with one another, and we’re here for each other.  We can learn how to work together and as a team,” said 1st Lt. Muklas Awad, a soldier with the al Qaim ISWAT team.

The soldiers and policemen displayed strengths in different areas, which kept the races close.  The first event, which tested the Iraqi’s ability to assemble and fire their weapon while under pressure, was won by the ISWAT team. 

For the second event, won by Iraqi policemen, the Iraqis moved in teams of two through an obstacle course, diving under tables and flipping a truck tire to the firing line where they had to hit three targets about 25 meters away.

The third event, won by the ISWAT team, had each team member go through a pistol-firing course followed by a sprint to a rifle fire.  After the Iraqis made three accurate shots with their rifles, they completed five pull-ups wearing a flak jacket and a slung AK-47 before sprinting back to the pistol-firing table, where the next contestant started. 

Finally, the teams participated in one last event.  Each team had to flip a truck tire across the range.  At the end of the course, the Iraqis had to find a simulated casualty and carry him back to their vehicles with the rest of their squad while running through smoke from smoke grenades.

Though no official winner was declared, certificates were awarded to the Iraqis for participating in the competition and awards such as headlamps and multi-tools were given to the competitors with the fastest times.  After all the awards were given, everyone got together for burgers and drinks before leaving.

“It seemed like they received (the competition) really well.  They just met and they’re all joking around each other, so that’s good.  A competition like this always brings people together,” said Chris.