Iraqi soldiers practice marksmanship, prepare for Operation Iron Lion
July 3, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq " Days before taking part in a battalion live fire exercise to culminate their training at Ghuzlani Warrior Training Center, Iraqi soldiers conducted a dry run with their M16 rifles, June 22.
Staff Sergeant Michael Blake, a scout assigned to Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, taught soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Div., a class about marksmanship skills to be used during their Operation Iron Lion event, set for June 27.
Iraqi soldiers will conclude their month of Tadreeb al Shamil, Arabic for All Inclusive Training, during Operation Iron Lion, which is an event demonstrating interoperability and tactical prowess between Iraqi Army soldiers, Iraqi Police, and the 3rd Federal Police Division.
During the class, Blake demonstrated common mistakes made while firing a weapon " anticipating the recoil, jerking the trigger, flinching and over-concentrating.
“Let it be natural,” Blake explained to the trainees. “Inhale, exhale, fire.”
A native of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., Blake showed his Iraqi counterparts how to best engage the enemy " a tactic the IA soldiers can use both during their battalion live fire exercise and while performing security missions.
“The familiarization class makes the IA soldiers more lethal,” Blake said.
Now the Soldiers understand how to take better-aimed shots instead of just shooting toward the enemy, he added.
Following the class, the 3rd IA Div. soldiers rehearsed their movement drills.
Separated into squads, soldiers knelt with their weapons and aimed at targets. Upon command, the soldiers moved to their next objective, conducting three to five second rushes, or sprints before taking cover again.
“Many of these soldiers aren’t used to these small unit tactics, because most of their missions involve manning checkpoints, and conducting raids and mounted patrols. For them to get out and maneuver as a platoon, company or battalion … it makes them confident that in the event they have to come together and fight a real enemy, they can do it,” said Blake.
U.S. Soldiers stood behind their Iraqi counterparts as the trainees fired at targets up to 200 meters away. Cavalry troopers walked down the firing line, encouraging and mentoring the trainees with each squeeze of the trigger.
“Our job is to protect (Ninewa province),” said Capt. Mohammed Esa, a company commander assigned to 1st Bn., 10th Bde., 3rd IA Div.
“The training that we get here will enhance our fighting skills and give us more confidence to defeat the enemy,” said Esa, a native of Mosul, Iraq.