The Iraqi enlisted soldiers and officers are to operate and command M1A1s in the future.
BAGHDAD - The M1A1 Tank Familiarization Course graduated 85 Iraqi Army soldiers Aug. 12 at the Besmaya Combat Training Center, Iraq.
The course is designed to be hands-on, and the focus is on crew cohesion. Students shoot, move and communicate in four-man crews.
"The crew orients itself to the tank, gets familiar with how it shoots, how it moves and how to communicate safely to the tower and other tanks," said Staff Sgt. Randy Christenson, M1A1 Familiarization Course Senior Advisor for the BCTC, Iraq Training and Advisory Mission - Army, and a Dupont, Wash., native.
Iraqi Army 1st. Lt. Waleed Khalid Muhammed, a cadre officer for the course, said the course methodology is much better and faster than what he experienced in the Iraqi Army in the past, in that it is mostly hands-on instruction.
"In the old days when we were training on tanks, we used to have just classes without having the opportunity to work with and see the equipment," Waleed said.
The Iraqi enlisted soldiers and officers are to operate and command M1A1s in the future, as Iraq purchased 140 M1A1 tanks for the Iraqi Army in a foreign military sales agreement between the U.S. and Iraq.
Around 500 Iraqi Army soldiers have graduated the class so far.
The 32-day course featured 20 Iraqi Army cadres to assist in the training and gain operational experience of a live fire range. The cadres are graduates of the same M1A1 TMC and were selected as tops in their class.