BAGHDAD - In spirit of the cooperation that has continued well past the June 30 Security Agreement deadline, which detailed the changeover in responsibility for the security of Iraq, U.S. Soldiers are working with their Iraqi partners.

U.S. snipers and squad-designated marksmen worked with their counterparts; giving tips, teaching lessons and allowing the Iraqi Soldiers from the 24th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division to improve their skills as marksmen at Forward Operating Base Constitution July 25-31.

For the past week Soldiers split their time between the classroom and the shooting range.

"Trying to communicate what we expect of them is the biggest problem," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Lynch, a native of Mifflintown, Pa., the lead sniper from the 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment "Paxton Rangers," 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, who are training the IA. "They're just like American Soldiers; they'll do really well, then they might forget a step. They just need repetition."

The class is one of the U.S. Army's "train-the-trainer" classes, designed to saturate the students with knowledge and experience with the intent of having them go back to their units and train their Soldiers.

"The instructors are very knowledgeable and have given us so much to help make us better Soldiers," said Sgt. Mustafa of the 24th Bde., 6th I.A. Div., who shot 37 of 40 targets on his first try.

The targets are 25 meters from the shooters and are sized down to appear they are between 50 and 300 meters away.

"We have a good group of instructors here. We have snipers, squad-designated marksmen and certified instructors. They know what they are talking about," said Lynch. "With the help of some pretty good interpreters we can pass this knowledge onto the Iraqi Army."

The class culminated with every student having passed the class, demonstrating proficiency with the M-4 rifle.

"I'm excited to be part of this," said Sgt. Joseph McGowan of Carlisle, Pa, also a sniper from the Paxton Rangers. "I feel this mission helps cultivate a good joint-forces mindset especially when considering our future together."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16