By Pfc. Jessica LuhrsJune 9, 2010
KIRKUK, Iraq -- More than 100 commandos with 3rd Company, 12th Iraqi Army Division, proved their abilities after successfully completing a live-fire exercise, which was the final verification in a commando course given by their 'Blackhawk' partners in Apache Troop, 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas, at the K-1 IA base, Kirkuk province, June 5.
The course was designed by 'Blackhawk' leadership after the commando's expressed their desire to learn more accurate fire on multiple targets and develop advanced U.S. infantry skills.
Throughout the 30-day course the commandos learned leadership, basic rifle marksmanship, combat lifesaving, house clearing procedures, and moving as a squad and as a team, according to Maj. Brian Schoellhorn, 15th Brigade IA, security transition team, operations officer-in-charge, and a native of Columbia, Ill. Although Maj. Schoellhorn is assigned to the 'Blackhawks', he assisted Apache Troop with training the IA leadership.
All of the training built up to what they are doing today, he said to a crowd of IA and 'Blackhawk' officers who came to observe the verification.
The verification exercise began with the IA commando platoon leader giving the operation brief on a sand table replica of the course.
The sand table is used to ensure each commando knows exactly what he needs to do while on the course and what they can expect while engaging a target, said Lt. Ahmed Azher Gedoge, team leader from 3rd platoon, commando company.
After the operation brief the IA commandos engaged the targets, assessed causalities, moved in teams to overcome obstacles and cleared a house.
After the operation was completed successfully, Maj. Schoellhorn spoke to the commandos and the leadership in the audience about how impressed the 'Blackhawks' are with the commandos success.
"We came out here with the intentions to train on rifle marksmanship and each of you are walking away with skills in training management, leadership and basic soldier skills," he said.
The commando leadership agreed with him.
"Because of this training we all have more trust in each other. We now know the soldier to the left and to the right knows exactly what to do, and we will all protect each other," said Lt. Ahmed after completing the verification course.
"We are one now," he finished.