By Spc. Crystal Hudson, 29th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentSeptember 1, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq, Sept. 1, 2011 -- Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, trained 25 Iraqi army soldiers in basic, advanced and close-quarters marksmanship skills at an Iraqi military post near Contingency Operating Base, Speicher, Aug. 14-18, in support of Operation New Dawn.
The five-day training culminated with students conducting "battle drill six," which simulated entering and clearing a room in an urban environment.
"The main focus coming out here was to train the Iraqis," said Staff Sgt. John Walker Murphy, squad leader with Company B. "We are making sure that these guys have a good basis and foundation so that they can go take that back to their units and utilize what we have taught them."
Three Iraqi units participated in the class, which included soldiers from the 4th IA Commando Battalion, the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division, and the Field Engineer Regiment.
"Thank God for everything that they are doing for us. It is very useful for our soldiers," said Iraqi army 2nd Lt. Hathem Hamid Khalaf, platoon leader for the 4th IA Commando Battalion.
The Iraqi leadership took an active role in training their soldiers along with the infantrymen.
"The Iraqi army wants to learn. They want to train," said 1st Lt. Christian White, platoon leader with Company B. "They don't always have the resources to do so, which seems to be the biggest issue. We are able to provide that for them, good quality training that they can take back to their units. The hope is that they continue to train."
Soldiers used their training to teach the Iraqi soldiers how to use their issued weapon, the AK-47.
"The guys have a base understanding of how to zero and qualify. It has just been a long time since they have been able to get the ammunition to do so," said White.
Once the training is complete, the soldiers will be certified as marksmanship trainers.
"The 4th Iraqi Army Division has the mission of securing a lot of the pipelines in Salah ad-Din province. A lot of their [soldiers] are dedicated to fixed site security," said Lt. Col. Barry Daniels, 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt. commander.
All of the training was important and necessary, including entering and clearing a room in an urban environment, he added.
"We are training them on the tasks that they will need to conduct those missions if they have to go in an urban area and assault an urban objective and apprehend [violent extremists]," said Daniels.
The Iraqi soldiers culminated their week of marksmanship and close-quarters training with a graduation ceremony.
"Overall, I think [the training] increases their capability, and anytime we can better partner with our Iraqi partners helps us all in the future in creating an enduring relationship with the nation of Iraq," Daniels said.