By Pfc. Angel Washington

1st Cavalry Division public affairs

JOINT SECURITY STATION INDIA, Iraq- In an area known for its disputed internal boundary between the Kurdish regional authority and the Iraqi army, soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment have been training both Iraqi troops and Kurdish security forces to collectively secure the population in northern Iraq.

Responsible for about 1,300 square miles, Garry Owen troopers worked at a combined patrol base Thursday in Shalalot Village.

With the assistance of the U.S. soldiers, Iraqis, from the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, trained with Kurdish security forces from the 12th Brigade, 3rd Division.

"It feels great to work together," said 1st Lt. Ahmad Taha, a Kurdish soldier. "Here, we act and live as a family. Each of us is a member of the family regardless of what force we come from."

"When we first got here, the training was basic," said Sgt. Gustavo Castano, an infantryman assigned to Alpha Company.

"Now the security forces understand and use standing operating procedures in mission planning and execution," he said. "We train them on convoy procedures, how to react to improvised explosive devices, dismounted formations, and arm and hand signals."

Soldiers are stationed at the combined patrol base around the clock. Some of their working days are longer than their nights, but with everyone working together, they are prepared to get the job done to make Shalalot Village a safer place.

"We are learning a lot," Taha said. "We did not expect to learn this much. The U.S. forces are really helping us and our people."

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