HomeNewsArticle Display

Airmen play key role in developing Iraqi police

Master Sgt. Killjan Anderson (left) and Senior Airman John Bretzik, help an "injured" Staff Sgt. Dwayne Pyle back to waiting Humvees during "battle drills" performed before each mission at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. All three are members of the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det. 6 and perform duties as a Provincial Police Transition Team. The drills are designed to simulate any possible situation the team may encounter while conducting missions outside the wire. The PTTs goal is to help the Iraqis establish a functioning, independent police force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Horton)

Master Sgt. Killjan Anderson (left) and Senior Airman John Bretzik, help an "injured" Staff Sgt. Dwayne Pyle back to waiting Humvees during "battle drills" performed before each mission at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. All three are members of the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det. 6 and perform duties as a Provincial Police Transition Team. The drills are designed to simulate any possible situation the team may encounter while conducting missions outside the wire. The PTTs goal is to help the Iraqis establish a functioning, independent police force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Horton)

Staff Sgt. Aaron Downing secures the area around a Humvee during "battle drills" performed before each mission at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. Sergeant Downing performs duties on a Police Transition Team here, and the drills are designed to simulate any possible situation the team may encounter while conducting missions outside the wire. The PTT's goal is to help the Iraqis establish a functioning, independent police force. Sergeant Downing is assigned to the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det 1. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Horton)

Staff Sgt. Aaron Downing secures the area around a Humvee during "battle drills" performed before each mission at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. Sergeant Downing performs duties on a Police Transition Team here, and the drills are designed to simulate any possible situation the team may encounter while conducting missions outside the wire. The PTT's goal is to help the Iraqis establish a functioning, independent police force. Sergeant Downing is assigned to the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det 1. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Horton)

Tech Sgt. Richard Blackstone conducts an equipment inventory with a Police Transition Team before a mission at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. Sergeant Blackstone, a squad leader for a District PTT security team, ensures each member of the team has all equipment needed for the mission. Sergeant Blackston is assigned to the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det. 1. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Horton)

Tech Sgt. Richard Blackstone conducts an equipment inventory with a Police Transition Team before a mission at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. Sergeant Blackstone, a squad leader for a District PTT security team, ensures each member of the team has all equipment needed for the mission. Sergeant Blackston is assigned to the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det. 1. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Horton)

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq (AFPN) -- Airmen roll out of the gates from here in armored Humvees and drive dangerous roads into Tikrit and the surrounding areas five days a week to do their part in helping Iraq transition to a peaceful democracy.

For the Airmen assigned to the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Det. 6, arming up and putting on more than 50 pounds of body armor and equipment in 115-degree heat is part of their role as members of Iraqi Police Transition Teams.

As coalition forces and Iraqis fight the insurgency, Iraqi police stations are established in neighborhoods with police transition teams to help get the process started.

The 45-person detachment operates at the provincial and district levels of the Iraq police, while Army PTTs operate at the station level in the Salah ad Din province, an area that covers approximately 25,000 square kilometers and has more than one million citizens.

The mission of each PTT is to coach, mentor and assess the Iraqi police, said Maj. Erik Bruce, the Det. 6 commander. The provincial police level is roughly the equivalent of a state, the district level roughly a county, and the station level deals with each individual Iraqi police station, he said.

"The goal of each team is to help the Iraqis establish a functioning independent police force," Major Bruce said. "This is not something the Air Force has done before, but overall, we're having a positive impact on the (Iraqi police) and the security environment in Iraq as a whole."

The major works with his counterpart at the provincial police headquarters, a former two-star Iraqi general, now the provincial director of police, to help plan security operations, create policies regarding logistics, finance, communications, budget and personnel management for the province.

"He's effective as a leader. His Iraqi army experience gives him good operational background in command and control of forces and conduct of operations targeting insurgents and terrorists," Major Bruce said. "He knows how to hold people accountable. He knows how to lead people into action and how to run a staff, so I'm fortunate in that regard."

When some of the responsibilities of the teams include overseeing the accountability and distribution of 10,000 weapons and 1.4 million rounds of ammunition, as well as the monthly expenditures of the $61 million 2007 budget, it's important for the PTT members to establish an effective working relationship with Iraqi police leaders they deal with.

"The day-to-day interaction is the easy part," said Capt. Greg Bodenstein, the 732nd ESFS Det. 6, chief of the Tikrit District PTT. "It's just using people skills to figure out what motivates these people. It's good to see the development in thinking and how we've influenced them."

, echoed the captain's comments.

"If you go into these situations fired-up and motivated, the Iraqis take that spark and make it a fire," said Master Sgt. Killjan Anderson, the 732nd ESFS Det. 6, assistant team chief for the provincial PTT. "I get excited about it.

"You're able to see the results of what you're doing when you spark something that helps them get going," Sergeant Anderson said. "You see the results right away. The rate of change is very fast and very rewarding. You can see how you make things better for people."

Through the almost daily engagements with the Iraqi police leadership, the transition teams have to constantly reassess their priorities based on many different factors.

"You take away a lot of respect for the Iraqis trying to make a difference," he said. "It takes incredible courage from these people to work at making things better despite the odds against them."

It's because of that courage that the Airmen of the 732nd ESFS Det. 6 will show their courage and continue to traverse the dangerous roads of Iraq to do their part in helping the Iraqi police grow into a functioning independent police force.

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

Click here to view the comments/letters page

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#USAF Staff Sgt. Andre Gonzales launches Capt. Cody Wilton, #A10 #DemoTeam commander/pilot, out at San Bernardino I… https://t.co/Ce719kI7bw
Throughout #TridentJuncture18, @Spangdahlem_AB #Airmen of the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron have worked thro… https://t.co/xsrionmKlZ
"I arrived at Tyndall 36 hours after the storm, that's five hours in dog time." - #MilitaryWorkingDog IIsaac's stor… https://t.co/JT0JVx4sbt
RT @US_EUCOM: Flanked by @US_EUCOM Joint Color Guard, @POTUS makes #ArmisticeDay100 remarks at Suresnes American Cemetery on November 11, 2…
.@LukeAFB #K9 unit trained with @AZNationalGuard #Medics to familiarize themselves with giving dogs medical attenti… https://t.co/zVSMrUkucN
Reflections show us who we are. Strong, determined, lethal, always ready...we like what we are seeing.… https://t.co/zsWQwyMSj4
Originally known as “Armistice Day” to mark the end of WWI, #VeteransDay was officially established in 1954 by Pres… https://t.co/srjqsQD6FD
SOUND ON: Bells across the country will be tolling at 11 a.m. local time to mark the centennial of World War I & to… https://t.co/JyrdK1ZDnf
.@AirNatlGuard Aircrew Flight Equipment #Airmen help the176th Wing aircrew breathe easy. @JBER_newshttps://t.co/qh4fwPIoTi
#ICYMI: @ACC_Commander visited @TeamTyndall for the second time since #HurricaneMichael caused catastrophic damage… https://t.co/UdPGIsFW4S
RT @FallonTonight: Jimmy Fallon partners with @TMobile and uses a game of Whisper Challenge to reunite a military veteran with her active-d…
An #Airman tells her story of #surviving #domesticviolence and #abuse, overcoming pain for justice. @jointbasemdlhttps://t.co/pVWyNZPyVr
Happy Birthday to our sister service. #MarineCorpsBirthday https://t.co/8D0TIfyjRB
.@Macdill_AFB #Airman reunited with his wife and met his first child when he returned from #deployment.… https://t.co/TGjip4zZBA
#MoodyAFB #Airmen test their #CBRN survival skills in readiness exercise Flying Tiger. https://t.co/RfFk69gMPJ https://t.co/mLjvve07WA
RT @PACAF: .@374AirliftWing #Airmen conduct rapid airfield damage repair training, enhancing capabilities and improving infrastructure resi…
#Airmen from the @116ACW deployed to distribute supplies for #HurricaneMichael relief. @AirNatlGuardhttps://t.co/O4ojoyiRgy