04 February 2011


Tankers train Iraqi soldiers at Al Asad

1st Lt. Mark Buckley, of Yardley, Pa., and Staff Sgt. Alexander Leija, of Slaton, Texas, advise an Iraqi army noncommissioned officer as he over watches a PKC machine gun familiarization range. Buckley and Leija are both assigned to Company D, 1st Bn., 68th Armor Reg., 3rd AAB, 4th Inf. Div, which has the mission of training Iraqi army companies in the 7th Iraqi Army Div. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Rudy Mello)

Written by Capt. John Barrington, 1st Bn., 68th Armor Reg., 3rd AAB, 4th Inf. Div.
Monday, January 31, 2011 16:28

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq – The Soldiers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, recently moved to Al Asad Air Base to join Task Force Blackjack, 4th Squadron., 10th Calvary Regiment, to begin its mission of advising, training, and assisting the 7th Iraqi Army Division.

The “Destroyers” of Company D built training areas which included ranges for rocket propelled grenade launchers, machine guns, and platoon tactical live-fire drills. Other companies assigned to TF Blackjack built M-16 marksmanship ranges and areas for defense tactics, squad movement drills, and hand grenade training.

While the 3rd AAB troops had a direct hand in constructing the ranges, the Iraqi leaders were actively involved as instructors during the training.

“The IA leadership instructed all RPK and PKC [machine gun] classes and developed a range scenario allowing support-by-fire positions to engage dismounted and mounted targets,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Oliver, of Greenville, Mich., fire support team chief and machine gun range safety officer.

Company D provided two advisor-trainer teams that partnered with two Iraqi army companies. These teams provide the advice, training, and assistance to the Iraqi leaders, allowing them to plan and resource training events.

The Destroyers also provided range cadre for the RPG and machine gun ranges and Soldiers to support the platoon movement training and the situational training exercise. The range cadre provided a training model and any additional expertise the Iraqi company leaders needed.

During the first rotation, Iraqi soldiers demonstrated a familiarity with many of the tasks, but had little practice executing them as a unit. Company D helped build and execute the training events that allowed the Iraqi soldiers to transition from squad movements all the way up to a battalion live-fire exercise.

“The IA Soldiers knew how to operate and employ their weapon systems, but trained very little in movement formations and techniques. Prior to this rotation, the majority of their maneuver training came from reading manuals or instruction at their basic course,” said 2nd Lt. David Blanton, of Columbus, Ohio....

Yes, our troops are still in Iraq, and you can read the rest of this B*N*S*N story here.

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