CAMP ROBERTS -- Army Spc. Nicholas Wissert of Merced stood in a queue of camouflaged soldiers, quizzing one on 15 Arabic phrases they'll rely on when they begin a mission in Iraq at the end of the year.
They aced the practice, repeating phrases for "Stop," "Drop your weapons" and "Do you need help?" It sounds like basic training for soldiers bound for the Middle East, but Wissert didn't get Arabic lessons when he deployed with the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment three years ago.
"I wish we had this class the first time," said Capt.Guillermo Adame, who leads Wissert's company in the Modesto-based National Guard battalion.
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