By Staff Sgt. Jeff HansenJanuary 25, 2010
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Jan. 25, 2010) -- Members of the Iraqi Army and Federal Police got hands-on rifle training from the best in the business at Contingency Operating Station Cashe South during a six-day advanced marksmanship training course.
Soldiers assigned to Troop C, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, assisted the Iraqi Security Forces with marksmanship skills above and beyond what they were taught in basic training.
All of the U.S. instructors are graduates of advanced marksmanship courses, so they were a logical choice to teach advanced marksmanship skills to the ISF, said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Grant, a section sergeant with Troop C.
"We started off with the very basic fundamentals of marksmanship, then moved into the advanced stages," said Grant.
Command elements from both U.S. and Iraqi forces said they thought this training would be a great way to train the ISF during the transition.
The Iraqi Soldiers and policemen taking part in the course were assigned long-range rifles, which have a total effective firing distance of 700 meters.
"These guys haven't had a lot of marksmanship training, they're just beginning," said Grant. "But we've seen a huge improvement [in their shooting] with each day."
According to Policeman Jamal Abdul Gunnei, an intelligence specialist assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Federal Police, the federal police officers were excited to work with the U.S. Soldiers.
"This training is excellent," said Gunnei. "The Americans have been great at training us."
Gunnei is considered by his U.S. advisors to be the best shooter in the course, and his eagerness to learn and help his comrades caught the attention of his chain of command.
The students received a visit Jan. 12 from members of 3rd Federal Police Brigade and 9th Iraqi Army Division, who commended them on their efforts and thanked the instructors for their hard work and dedication.
"I think it's great their leaders care enough about what [the Soldiers] are doing to take time out of their day to come all the way out here to check on them," said Grant.
Handshakes and photos were only part of the visit, however. When the visitors noticed that their Soldiers needed more ammunition, members of the 9th Iraqi Army Division operations office brought out more rounds for them to work with.
The Soldiers of Troop C feel they are making a real difference in the skills the Iraqis are learning. As only the first iteration of U.S. Soldiers teaching ISF advanced marksmanship skills, Grant and his team anticipate continued participation and future successes.
(Staff Sgt. Jeff Hansen writes for 366th MPAD, USD-C)