Support: March 24, 2003


A unique form of combat support is being created by U.S. Army trainers in Hungary. Using a Hungarian military base, about a hundred Iraqi exiles have finished a one month training course so they can act as translators and liaison for U.S. troops in Iraq. This is the second class to complete the course. Only three of the first group dropped out, and those who completed the course have since been sent to join U.S. forces in Iraq. The only "combat training" the men received was in how to use the 9mm pistols they were issued. The rest of the training mostly had to do with military procedures and how to deal with the many situations they would face back in Iraq. The average age of the volunteers is in the 30s and most are either professionals or businessmen. Nearly all have taken a pay cut, because as temporary Department of Defense employees they will only get $1500 a month (plus free medical care, food and the like.) The Department of Defense is not divulging much officially, but it appears that other groups of Iraqi exiles are undergoing training as well. All of this is not popular with many Iraqi exile groups, mainly because they see this effort as an attempt by the United States to create their own Iraqi militia. But the number of men being trained is too small for a militia, and the men are not receiving much in the way of military training. Indeed, a lot of the instruction has to do with dealing with aid groups and military specialists like engineers and military police. 


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