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Feature Stories

NEWS | July 18, 2019

The 244th CAB helps mentor Iraqi Pilots in Taji

By Capt. Fernando Ochoa 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Natalie Nevins, 244th Combat Aviation Brigade Command Flight Surgeon, Task Force Warhawk, and her medical team traveled to the Iraqi Taji Airbase, Amber Zone, to mentor helicopter pilots from the Iraqi Army Aviation Squadron 55 unit, and demonstrate combat lifesaver and first aid skills June 17-20, 2019.

The 244th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Warhawk, has been deployed to Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

In a classroom setting, Lt. Col Nevins, along with her team, which included Master Sgt. Jenny Sutton, Sgt. 1st Class Eddie Rodriguez, and Sgt. Maxwell Flournoy, conducted hands on mentoring.

“We want to develop relationships and mentor Iraqi Soldiers who do not have basic first aid skills,” said Lt. Col. Nevins. “We also hope that those Soldiers who we mentor today will go on to mentor other Iraqi Soldiers and make their force stronger.”

The U.S. Army actively works with coalition forces to develop ways to make their bonds and force stronger.

A helicopter pilot in the Aviation Squadron 55, was among more than 20 Iraqi Army Aviation pilots in attendance.

“This class will help us learn how to treat our troops and pilots when they are seriously injured,” said the helicopter pilot. “We welcome more help from the U.S. forces and hope classes like these will continue to happen.”

Lt. Col. Nevins started the class with basic concepts like care under fire and the need to stop bleeding, which service members should do before checking for breathing.

“One of the primary goals of this mentoring is so that theses pilots can save their own lives,” said Sgt. 1st Class Rodriquez, 244th CAB senior medical noncommissioned officer. “Another point we try to emphasis is having the proper equipment, which is just as important as the mentoring.”

This mentoring session is just one of many classes Coalition forces plan to conduct with their partner forces.

Lt. Col. Nevins is the Asst. Dean of Clinical Education at Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific. She is board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Family Medicine, and also maintains a private practice in West Hollywood, CA.

Multiple Coalition training task forces continue to train and equip Iraqi security forces which in turn are keeping the pressure on Daesh.