Iraqi Sailors Graduate from Patrol Boat Training in U.S.
Through a partnership with the U.S. Navy and U.S. industry designed to help bolster Iraq’s maritime security, 50 Iraqi sailors graduated from patrol boat training during a ceremony at the Swiftships Shipbuilding facility in Morgan City, Louisiana, this past week.
The training was held to support the Iraq government as it prepares to take possession of the first of fifteen 35-meter Patrol Boat’s (PB).
“During the last 90 days we challenged you with a lot of information and expectation. You learned a great deal - core fundamentals, boat systems, navigation, integrated watch standing, seamanship and damage control ” said Capt. Ed "Junior" Turner, commanding officer, Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity (NETSAFA) during his remarks at the ceremony. “While the primary goal of the course was to teach you how to drive, maintain and deploy your newly purchased and constructed patrol boats, it’s important to remember that taking ownership and operating these boats will truly be the key to enhancing your country’s maritime security.
The sailors arrived for training in mid-April to learn how-to use their newly purchased 35-meter PB’s. During their training they lived at Swiftships’ temporarily constructed training village, adjacent to the shipyard.
Prior to graduating, the students completed a 90-day blended training program which consisted of instructor-led classroom training delivered by VSD, integrated scenario-based simulator training, and underway familiarization aboard a 35-meter PB.
The full mission bridge, engine room control, and 50 millimeter gun fire control simulators replicate the PB shipboard systems, while the firefighting and small arms trainers teach the sailors basic shipboard skill requirements.
The integrated training incorporates multiple simulators to provide realistic underway scenarios and helps to further develop the crew's proficiency aboard the boat.
“The patrol boat was built in consideration of the type of waterways, oil platforms and close in support and security requirements of the Iraqi forces,” said Turner. “It’s the ideal size to support the river security and big enough to go out and provide protection for their oil platforms and terminals in the Persian Gulf.”
The 35-meter PB training program was developed, in coordination with Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Naval Sea Systems Command, and Swiftships Shipbuilding.
“The boat is very nice. I’ve never served on such a new and modern boat,” said a senior Iraqi Navy official. “The training we are receiving from the U.S. Navy will make us a better navy. Having the patrol boats will help to create stronger partnerships with our neighbors in the region.”
The next class of 50 sailors is expected to start training in August.