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Sheppard instructor trains Iraqi military to advance in communication

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jarrod Chavana
  • ACCE Public Affairs
The U.S. is taking strides to rebuild Iraq and create a modern military that has the capability of defending its people and borders from enemies foreign and domestic.

The Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission-Air Force have Airmen assigned to teach Iraqi personnel how to create a self sufficient and sustaining military. One such class is the cable and antenna maintenance course, taught by Airmen from the 821st Expeditionary Training Squadron. During this 42 day course, the Iraqi military students learn about communication theories, splicing cable and the overall capabilities that fiber optics can bring in advancements.

"This is the first class of its kind here and they are making huge strides and everyone must remember they are just starting out with this kind of technology," said Staff Sgt. Gary Graf, 821st ETS cable and antenna maintenance instructor. "This class is building a better Iraq, I want to train them and I hope I can make a difference."

Sergeant Graf was deployed to another location in South East Asia where he was using his fiber optics and antennas skill set before being transferred to the 821st ETS. As deployments go, unforeseen circumstances occur and Airman, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to adapt and overcome.

"I didn't mind them asking me to come and teach, even though I only had a five day notice," said Sergeant Graf, who is deployed from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. "I will do whatever I have to in order to complete the mission."

"Our main goal is to be advisors and train the Iraqis to be the instructors," he said. "During class there are times I find it difficult to relate theories to them and that's when my Iraqi counterpart is able to step in and explain it to them."

One such theory that is hard to relate is the light wave theory.

According to Sergeant Graf, when someone has a telephone conversation, the voice transmits from the phone through cable or fiber optic line, the sound is then broken down into 0's and 1's and when it reaches the other telephone the 0's and 1's revert back to sound; this is called the light wave theory.

"This course will help further the progress of Iraq and help us catch up to the rest of the modern world," said Mahmud Hassun, a student of the class. "What I like most about fiber optics is its accuracy and the capacity of the information that it transmits. When I get back to my base I can share my experience from this class and help build it up."

More than 60,000 circuits can run through one strand of fiber optic cable, which is the thickness of a strand of hair and there are about 48 strands per cable.

"It's cool, that someday I will be able to look back and see I made a difference," said Sergeant Graf. "It's not going to be over night, it will take time but they want to learn and they can make Iraq into a better place."