CAMP MEJID, Iraq – The members of Military Transition Team 7, working with the Reconnaissance Platoon of Regimental Combat Team 8, recently launched a month-long training course designed to hone the skills of the 7th Iraqi army division’s Special Operations Battalion.
The training program began with a five-day marksmanship refresher, which reminded the Iraqi commandos how to properly zero their weapons, fire at extended distances, and rapidly assess and engage close-range targets with their assault rifles.
Starting with the very basics of weapons training, the MiTT took the Iraqi soldiers from weapons safety and weapons conditions classes to battlesight zeroing and combat drills.
“I’d say they’re giving everything they’ve got,” said Robert Wise, MiTT-7’s special operations foreign internal defense specialist. “They come out here, and in their own way, they try to prove to us that they’re capable of taking over security of the country.”
Wise, a former Marine and retired Army Special Forces soldier, said that despite not having an established rifle training program, the commandos were showing excellent progress and were ready to take control of security operations throughout Iraq.
Working through language and education barriers, the RCT-8 Marines were able to properly instruct the Iraqis on how to rapidly and effectively engage a close-range target. By day five, the commandos were conducting combat reloads and effectively removing any stoppages or jams of their AK-47 assault rifles. The training undertaken by the Iraqis is akin to the Combat Marksmanship Program, a rigorous shooting course completed by Marines before deploying to Iraq.
“We are very happy to be having the U.S. Marines training us,” said Iraqi Army 1st Lt. Amer Mowfuc, an infantry officer with the 7th Iraqi Army Division. “We come out here so the men could practice with their rifles and grow more confident in both their weapons and weapons training.”
When asked whether he felt that the Iraqi military was nearly ready to take the lead in military operations across Iraq, Mowfuc could only reply, “We’re almost there, we just need some more training, and to get our technology and logistics more in line like the Americans.”
The next phase of the commando course will be a land navigation course, followed by medical, convoy and air assault training.
By the completion of their training, the 7th Iraqi army division’s Special Operations Battalion will have taken another step toward fulfilling its quest of having a well-trained, disciplined and skilled group of Iraqi commandos to lead their country into the next phase of its history.