Long Knives, Romanians get fired up at range
January 15, 2009
COB ADDER, Iraq - The sounds of artillery rounds and various exploding projectiles could be heard miles away from the Bardia Firing Range Jan. 3.
Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and the Romanian 341st Infantry Battalion lit up the southern Iraqi sky while cross training one another on their different military weapon systems.
"This cross training was an enjoyable familiarization exercise that allowed the American Soldiers to shoot weapons that they would never be able to fire (otherwise)," said Sgt. 1st Class Bogdan Marius, a Romanian soldier who taught the Americans how to use his military's weapons. "Both forces took the time to learn valuable techniques that could later be used in combat."
During the past six months, Long Knife Soldiers have worked alongside the Romanians and the Iraqi Security Forces in various operations to provide stability in the tri-province area of Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan Provinces.
"It was a different type of mission that brought all the guys closer together," said Staff Sgt. Chris Toledo, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the joint-firing range. "Usually we just observe and assist the Romanians on operations and missions. This time we had the chance of a lifetime to fire weapons that we normally wouldn't have the opportunity to."
The Long Knife Soldiers operated the Romanian weapon systems, including the rocket-propelled grenade launcher and the AK-47 assault rifle. Additionally, the White Shark troops were given a chance to fire the Americans' M-4 carbines, M203 grenade launchers and M2 .50-caliber machine gun.
After the last rocket was fired and the assault rifle magazines were emptied, the troops cleared the range and discussed the positive aspects of the training event.
Looking forward to the next mission, the Long Knife Soldiers took their newfound skills and headed back to the base to continue preparing for their next mission. Toledo said the weapons training created a stronger bond with their Romanian counterparts.