The first group of Iraqi soldiers to graduate from the Iraqi Army Basic Medical Course in Anbar province have joined their units, U.S. military officials said Sunday.

Twenty soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division graduated from the five-week course, which includes more than 200 hours of classroom time, written exams and field practice. The course is designed to “teach the soldiers how to respond both under fire and provide tactical field care such as applying tourniquets and battle dressings, opening airways to allow breathing, and patient triage,” according to a U.S. military news release.

Plans call for training some 150 Iraqi army medics in the province by the end of the year.

Anbar province has long been the spiritual and physical center of the Iraqi insurgency. The recruiting and training of Iraqi army units in the area has been slow, though U.S. officials graduated from a boot camp the first all-Sunni group of around 900 soldiers in May.

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