BAGHDAD, June 7, 2011 -- Senior noncommissioned officers with the ‘First Lightning’ Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division - Center have long sought to strengthen the battalion’s partnership with the 1st Iraqi Federal Police Division.

To that end, they recently shifted the discussion from the conference rooms and onto the firing range.

Command Sgt. Maj. William F. Bauer, senior enlisted advisor of 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt., extended the invitation for Iraqi Federal Police Command Sgt. Maj. Habib Haytar, command sergeant major with the 1st Iraqi Federal Police , or IFP, Div., to spend the day at the Joint Security Station Loyalty range learning and firing weapon systems used by U.S. forces.

“[It is] good to be able to show Iraqi NCOs our weapon systems and the proficiency of our NCO training skills and abilities,” said Bauer. “The main goal today was not to showcase our weapon systems, but put our NCOs in the forefront of partnership training, and for the Iraqis to witness for themselves the professionalism that comes with being a noncommissioned officer.”

Sgt. 1st Class Clay Rose, a platoon sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt., was given the responsibility to provide instruction to the Iraqis. Rose covered everything from range safety to the intricate details of each weapon system - from the M240B machine gun to the ubiquitous M4 carbine.

“The instruction went well, and I think the Iraqis got something out of it,” said Rose. “I do hope what they did get out of it was the safety considerations we take when training with our weapon systems, and that they take this back with them and train their peers and subordinates.”

There were six firing stations set up, with a First Lightning NCO at each station ready to provide instructions to the firers. The first weapon system fired was the M240B, and the Iraqis were impressed by the power and precision of the weapon. Command Sgt. Maj. Alla’ Muhammed, with the 1st IFP Div., attained top marks when he noticed that he hit ten out of ten shots in the middle of the target silhouette.

“[Muhammed] was a great shot, and this was his first time using this type of weapon,” said Staff Sgt. Tarquin Brown, a section chief with 1st Platoon, Battery A, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt. “It was more difficult than I thought to train using an interpreter. I have seen others conduct this type of training, and I never thought anything about it, but now I believe this experience is great for NCO professional development.”

When the range was completed, both parties began the walk back to a conference room, where they sat down to a lunch filled with American and Iraqi delicacies.

“This was a great day,” Bauer said. “We were able to get a little training in and some lunch with great food, but now it’s back to business for me and Command Sergeant Major Habib.”