FORWARD OPERATING BASE MCHENRY, Iraq - Using a weapon is typically the last thing a police officer wants to do, but skill with a firearm is critical in the unfortunate event that its use is required.

Soldiers from the 3rd Platoon, 218th Military Police Company, recently provided support for the Hawijah area Iraqi Police so they could take part in a three day range on Forward Operating Base McHenry.

During the three day event a total of 278 Iraqi Police Officers, which included 16 officers, fired Avtomat Kalashnikova-47 rifles, also known as AK-47s, and Glock 9mm handguns.

"The great success of this range was that we were able to get all the ammunition we needed from the Kirkuk Provincial Iraqi Police Headquarters," said 2nd Lt. Megan Howell, platoon leader for 3rd Platoon, 218th Military Police Company.

A total of 6,000 AK-47 rifle rounds and 1,500 rounds for the Glock 9mm handguns were fired on this range. The request for the rounds for this range was made by Lt. Col. Fattah through the Provincial Headquarters and the request for the Bagara range went through the 3rd Battalion, 46 Iraqi Brigade, 12th Iraqi Army Division.

"The Hawijah district has struggled from a logistics standpoint since before the arrival of 3/218th MP Company in April of this year," said Howell.

During the training range Cpt. Falah, the district training officer, coached the Iraqi Police through a series of commands on the firing line. He also coached them on their form and other aspects of basic marksmanship.

"This is some of the IPs' first time to fire on a range since the academy," said Howell.

The 3rd Platoon, 218th Military Police Company, conducted their first combined range with the Hawijah Iraqi Police in May of this year during which 43 Iraqi Police fired.

The platoon has also helped coordinate other training events including biometric data collection certifications, investigative officer training on evidence collection, witness statements, anticorruption and police intelligence operations.