Old 04-28-2006, 18:31   #1
Crue
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FID Iraq

I would like to start a discussion about FID. I don't really know where to start. I guess I will just start off the top of my head with some of the things that are bothering me. I am 3 months into a year long deployment working with the Iraqi Army and it just seems to be one step forward two steps back everyday. Its not as if they are not retaining what we are teaching (though I have to say there is not a lot of training it is mostly OJT with most of the learining going on planning missions and debriefs from actual engagements) they just dont seem to care. For example we just got hit by 120 mortars the other day had 1 IA KIA , 13 IA WIA, and 2 US WIA yet two hours later you still got guys walking around without thier weapons or flaks on ("Insh-Allah"). It just gets frusrating. When the shooting starts its just always seems to degenerate into the two US advisors that are with the IA company taking over and making things happen. Don't get me wrong there are some Warriors among the IA Bn but they are definitely few and far between. Does this sound familiar to others that have done FID in the Middle East? I would like to think we are doing a good job(there are eleven of us) None of us have any frame of refrence for this mission( I was here last year with an Infantry Bn with very little contact with the IA). I guess I am just looking for other experiences doing this kind of thing and seeing how we are stacking up.
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Old 04-28-2006, 19:06   #2
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I have participated in a lot of FID missions but I really cannot relate to what you are writing because I am not there nor do I know what mission you have been given and what the desired outcome is for your task. I can provide some comments that may or may not be of any value. First how is your team doing with the cultural aspect of the folks you are advising, how are your language skills or are you working through interpreters? Are you training them in accordance with what the IA will eventually become or are you training them as adjuncts to the US Army? Do the IA leaders of this group understand what is expected from their own chain of command and are they effective? If they are not effective have you been able to identify those that would be more effective and can you channel your efforts through them to get them to do what is needed? How much interaction do you have with them when you are not out beating the bushes and are you truly embedded with them or do you all break off into you own compounds after each mission? Are you equipped the same as they are and how much latitude are you giving them to make the decisions that are necessary to make them complete stakeholders in the outcome? Do you know any of these troops as people or do you just know them as troops that you are advising?
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Old 04-28-2006, 19:57   #3
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I think we are about as embedded as you can be. Our COP is actually a bunch of Iraqi houses with a HESCO perimeter. I live in a house that has a joint US/IA COC. Some of the other team members live in houses with the jundies. At first I was a big advocate of having our own team house but it just did not work out that way, so we live/eat/ socialize among the troops 24/7. Its actually pretty funny when a non team member comes around we all sit around and talk thier ear off because we are all happy to see a new face around. A lot of the soldiers I know just about as well as I knew some of my Marines. We thought the whole culture issue would be a huge thing but it has really turned into a non-issue (save the social class issue).There are some religious ones but soldiers are soldiers the world over and a lot of the bull sessions I have with them just degenerate into the same type of conversations soldiers have been having since the time of the Romans, ie booze, women, and stupid officers.
Some of us have picked up a passable amount of Arabic, that gets us through basic planning/patrolling though a lot of the more in depth things require the use of terps.
The Bn I am with actually has thier own battle space, actually thier whole Brigade does. So to me it is not as if we are using them to further any policy of our own. Everyone on the team has been here at least twice and dont look forward to comming back so it is in our self intrest to get these guys to fight this insurgency on thier own. They do all the planning, they work thier own intell, mission planning, etc. We work the fire support, urgent medevacs, and step in when things look like they are going get friendlies killed. Basically we just push them to gain and maintain contact with the enemy. My main focus right now is trying to empower the NCOs, once we crack that nut I really things will drastically improve.

Sorry if this post was disjointed probably filled with bad grammer and spelling. I am on radio watch right now and it is late, and I just had to get a few things out there before I hit the rack. I will try to fill out some more details and sitreps (if anyone is intrested) as I get more time.
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Old 04-28-2006, 21:01   #4
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FID

Be patient. Do the best damn job you can. It may take quiet a bit longer to get these guys to come around than you think. It may not happen on your tour, the next tour or your son's. They are in no hurry because Allah is running the show. In my time it was Buddah. Both of these guys don't give a damn about time. Keep you head down Marine and..........
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Old 04-29-2006, 00:05   #5
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Crue:

To add to what the Colonel said, what is your background in FID? Where else have you done it and how long? What is your exposure to the indig in your AO? Have you worked with them before? Do you see them as some sort of untermensch, or have you built relationships with them and see them as people too (probably not "jundies")?

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

De Oppresso Liber 01/20/2025
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Old 04-29-2006, 04:30   #6
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Maybe I was unclear but I have never done a FID mission, that is pretty much why I was writing I am just looking for some other outlooks on this type of mission.
I would say that I got a pretty good exposure to the actual people living in the AO. I know quite a few of the people, ie thier kids names, what they do for a livining etc. Also quite a few of the people in the AO know my name.
Also, I personally do not see them as some kind of lower life form. Jundie just means soldier/private its not derogatory, its like Haji we were told that "oh thats bad never use that word" when it actually means respectful old man. I never will trust these guys totally (there is no vetting) but for the most part we treat these guys as equals. I mean we were doing Triage the other day on a mass casualty we had after a mortar attack and IA were getting on birds before US.
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Old 04-29-2006, 05:19   #7
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Sounds like you are on the right track. Patience is the key and never lose your sense of humor-can't see your front sight blade when you eyes are watering with anger. The frustration you are dealing with is normal and you are right about getting the NCO corps to function, that certainly is what makes our military what it is. Officers basically exist to enable their NCOs to achieve success. One other thing you have to understand about FID and that is, and while this sure as hell is not going to be apparent in the trenches, that the military actually plays a supporting role in this effort. In order for your efforts to have any meaning in the long term it is going to be the Iraqi government, supported by its economic recovery and psychological effort, that has to resolve the problems that are fueling this insurgency aspect against the country. That, unfortunately, as I am sure you are aware is a long term effort and I mean really long term. There is one other aspect that is unique to your situation and that is the big picture of fundamentalists who are using the insurgency not only to distable the fledgling government but also to co-opt their own religion and that is something that is a lot bigger than just what is going on in Iraq. We had something similar in Vietnam for those of us that worked with the Montagnards but that was a movement that was more akin to what is going on with the Kurds where they are pushing for autonomy and that was the FULRO movement. You have to tread lightly in any FID environment because what you do and see at your level can have major impacts down the road if what you do is not exactly in line with the overall goals of the country and its government, dispite the loyalities and sympathies you may develop on the battlefield for the folks and their own aspirations. Good luck.
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Old 05-01-2006, 21:23   #8
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Spring 2004

I experienced the same thing in spring 2004, it seemed to help (this may be specific to my experience) to find out who was the veteran soldier amongst them. We were becoming frustrated as you are till I realized that some of these guys had as much or more experience as we had (although the same tactics were'nt used). I realized that controlling them and correcting them was working against us, because we were interupting the fluidity of their unit cohesiveness. I then let their platoon Sgt. take over training (and reponsibility) after explaining the specific criteria for the evolution for the day and viola they started to perform 5X better. I know being treated as a team member helped along with respect and getting them the proper equipment and personal care items did wonders to break down the barriers between us. After classroom teaching we let the IA (Jundies?) listen to our music on our laptops while we had a meeting with the leadership to discuss the next day's training.
I hope this helps.
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Old 05-01-2006, 21:25   #9
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82ndsig:

I like the way you think.

Now do some reading of stickies and intros, and introduce yourself in the proper place here.

TR
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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

De Oppresso Liber 01/20/2025
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Old 05-01-2006, 21:51   #10
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Quote:
it just seems to be one step forward two steps back everyday
Yep, FID. Just reverse the trend....

This helps me when I get aggravated...
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
with a modification...
And to get the right ass when they need a boot.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 05-15-2006, 06:14   #11
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FID

I've been trying to get this message out for about three days but this damn internet in Iraq sucks. If you need to vet your soldiers, specifically the O's and NCO's, contact CJSOTF. Get on SIPR and look up their e-mail address. There are ways to vet Iraqis but they can't be discussed on this board. It's really good that your team has embedded yourselves with the locals however, these guys understand english alot better than they let on. When your hanging out and talking, make sure your not talking about anything remotely operational. You well get closer and closer to these guys as the months go along but I wouldn't trust them as I would one of my brothers on my team. You don't know what their Imam told them at prayers on Friday and you don't know if some sorry fuck affiliated with Al Jihad Wal Taweed has a gun to this guys wife and kids heads. Alot of these guys truly want a better Iraq but alot of them are FRE or MM and have alterier (sp?) motives. Just be careful.
82ndsig. Lets talk about Iraqis using your laptop while you were at briefings. There is no such thing as a "clean" laptop. Unless you wipe your drive every day with certain programs, there are things on there like e-mail addresses, pictures of your family, names of your family, addresses of your family, etc. That's just the little stuff. You would be suprised at what's on your personal laptop that could be used against you or your teammates. I may sound paranoid but there is some crazy stuff that goes on here. I can tell you with absolute assurance that more than one soldier has died here because of basic opsec violations. I can also tell you from first hand knowledge that there are guys in Abu G that came across as dumb Iraqi privates but spoke better English than you or me and could navigate around a computer better than most 15 year old computer nerds. I'm off my soapbox.
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Old 05-15-2006, 06:36   #12
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off my soapbox

Now that I'm done with my rant. FID is so much damn fun! Especially when DA is involved after their training cycle. When we do operations with our Iraqi counterparts it's the best time ever. They're all smiles, bouncing around, singing and dancing. Their motivation is infectious. We'll hop on the birds to go do a hit and they are fired up. It's everything I can muster to keep up with them to the door. They will breach the door and have a typical Iraqi house cleared in under 20 seconds. I don't think I'll ever be able to top my time here with this Iraqi unit. They love training and they love fighting.
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Old 05-15-2006, 11:51   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crue
Jundie just means soldier/private its not derogatory, its like Haji we were told that "oh thats bad never use that word" when it actually means respectful old man.
Hadji has several meanings:

- Hadji, a character on the TV animated series Jonny Quest

- A hajji, a Muslim who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca known as the Hajj

- Youssef Hadji and Mustapha Hadji, football (soccer) players

- Hadji, Coalition forces slang for an Iraqi during the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. This is because most of them don't know what the term actually means.

If you're serious about FID, "The Ugly American" by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick is a MUST READ. Can get it used from Amazon for $3.00. Well worth the money.
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Old 12-29-2007, 06:33   #14
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Now that I'm done with my rant. FID is so much damn fun! Especially when DA is involved after their training cycle. When we do operations with our Iraqi counterparts it's the best time ever. They're all smiles, bouncing around, singing and dancing. Their motivation is infectious. We'll hop on the birds to go do a hit and they are fired up. It's everything I can muster to keep up with them to the door. They will breach the door and have a typical Iraqi house cleared in under 20 seconds. I don't think I'll ever be able to top my time here with this Iraqi unit. They love training and they love fighting.
Now that I have been back for awhile and have really been able to think about this last deployment I had I have really been thinking about some of things we could have done better, I have a few questions for the experts.
When you are doing FID what is your role, as an advisor, in the command structrue of the foreign unit? I have been reading a lot about Vietnam and it seems as if most of the advisors were the defacto unit leaders for the locals. Is this correct? From every echelon we were told that the Iraqi Army was in charge and we were only there to train, provide fire support/medevacs, and coordination with adjacent units.
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:46   #15
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Now that I have been back for awhile and have really been able to think about this last deployment I had I have really been thinking about some of things we could have done better, I have a few questions for the experts.
When you are doing FID what is your role, as an advisor, in the command structrue of the foreign unit? I have been reading a lot about Vietnam and it seems as if most of the advisors were the defacto unit leaders for the locals. Is this correct? From every echelon we were told that the Iraqi Army was in charge and we were only there to train, provide fire support/medevacs, and coordination with adjacent units.

It all depends on what type of unit you have and where you're at. I'm in OIF right now and I'm a TA (tactical advisor) for a unit that has been in existence since 2003 and does mostly DA with very very little FID. I'm fortunate that the unit I'm a TA for needs very little help since they have had USSF advisors since 2003.

When I was in OEF in 2002/03, it was a very different story for me. I was with the ANA. As a TA, I was very active in FID, since I had the very first operational ANA company in the first operational ANA BN in the Afghanistan Army. Most of the ops that I did were platoon operations where I was the defacto PL. During training cycle, we as TA's were the teachers and discplinarians when needed.

You as a TA can only do so much based upon your man power, logistical support, atsompherics, and other things that you cant control. So you'll have to priortize what's important like keeping soldiers alive in combat.
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