LAKE THAR THAR, Iraq --
Al-Anbar Iraqi River Police officers aced their final exam.
Select Iraqi policemen here with the al-Anbar Iraqi River Police force, which was established to patrol the local waterways independently from Coalition forces, finished a week-long certification course Dec. 21. This was the first class taught by the Navy “River Rats” of Detachment 3, Riverine Squadron 1, Regimental Combat Team 5 on Lake Thar Thar.
In this class taught by Detachment 3, roughly 35 Iraqis graduated, which brought the Iraqi River Police closer to their goal of having over 250 police officers patrolling the waterways throughout al-Anbar province. Four classes have already been taught on Lake Qadisiyah by various Navy Riverine units, but this is the first class to graduate here.
The training consisted of different boat tactics and operating procedures that were conducted on Lake Thar Thar, the largest lake in Iraq.
“We started training them on basic boat handling and characteristics,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Bret M. Hand, 27, a joint terminal attack controller with the detachment from Hampton Bays, N.Y. “Once they were comfortable, we showed them basic tactics for boats and weapon handling for their personal weapons.”
“Our people benefited from the excellent training, and I thank our friends on their effort they gave to form our team,” said Maj. Diab Khalaf Diab, chief of al-Anbar Iraqi River Police. “It’s a new team, and hopefully we will continue our training with the same detail as what was taught to us.
“We started building our team in July, and it’s the first Iraqi team to patrol Lake Thar Thar,” said Diab. “We’re going to be monitoring the shores around the lake so that there aren’t any bad activities going on, such as weapon smuggling and drug smuggling.”
During the training, four Iraqi police officers were designated as trainers for future Iraqi students.
“We’re also going to be conducting our own river police training school for the new Iraqi attendants who want to join our ranks,” said Diab.
The Iraqi River Police have been training on boats which were supplied to them by the detachment, but have ordered 50 boats to use throughout al-Anbar province.
“We have ordered over 40 small boats and approximately 10 large boats to patrol the lakes (throughout al-Anbar province),” said Diab. “We are going to use the boats to conduct patrols and searches in the area so we can ensure the safety of the people around the lakes.”
Through their hours of training, the policemen have learned how to proficiently patrol the area and ensure the safety of the local Iraqi citizens.
“From this moment, I am very sure that the team is ready to go on patrols by themselves,” said Diab. “We are ready to take the reigns (from Coalition forces patrolling the river). We are ready and willing to begin patrolling the area everyday, keeping the area safe for the people.”