BAGHDAD, Iraq - By, with, and through were the guiding words for the Soldiers of Troop A, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, as they prepared for their upcoming advise and assist missions in Iraq.

As a part of this preparation, Feb. 23, the troop conducted weapons training using non-lethal rounds. In this training, the Soldiers familiarized themselves with firing the rounds on the M500 shotgun and M203 grenade launcher.

"I have used non-lethal weapons here in Iraq on prior deployments, and it was a very effective tool," said Staff Sgt. Trever Henning, from Milwaukee, Wis. "And now that we are here in an advise and assist mission, these weapons will be more useful to us."

When used properly, the rounds have proven to be an effective and safe means of crowd control. More importantly, these rounds help prevent the unnecessary loss of civilian life while allowing the Soldiers to successfully accomplish their mission.

Although familiarization with non-lethal rounds was the purpose of training, the Soldiers were constantly reminded of how these weapons support our overarching mission in Iraq: to advise, train, and assist.

"You are there to work by, with, and through the Iraqi security forces. We are not to be the face of operations anymore; that is the Iraqi Security Forces responsibility to lead all operations," said Cpt. Brian Kargus, trial counsel, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C, a Manhattan, Kan. native.

While not leading the operation may be a new concept for members of A Trp., especially those who have deployed to Iraq before, the mission and its purpose were clearly understood among the Soldiers.

"We are here to support the Iraqi Security Forces, and these are our tools to help them succeed," said Spc. Paul Murray, from Prescott, Ariz. native, in reference to the non-lethal weapons training.

By the end of training, all the Soldiers were familiarized with the effects and proper use of non-lethal rounds. More importantly, every Soldier left the training with a better understanding of how to advise and assist the Iraqi Security Forces.