BAGHDAD, Iraq – “Weapons are the most important thing to anyone in the military, especially to those in special operations,” said the Iraqi Special Operations Forces brigade’s deputy commander. “It is the most important thing in our fight.”
After months of rigorous weapons training, nine Iraqi Soldiers from across the country completed the third small-arms weapons maintenance course during a graduation ceremony in the Iraqi capital May 19.
At the conclusion of the half-hour-long ceremony, a total of 33 ISOF students have been officially trained to become experts in the art of weapons maintenance through the skilled individuals of the 3rd Support Battalion and prior graduates of the course.
“The graduates will be able to set up their own small-arms shops and fix some weapon deficiencies on site,” said the head instructor of the course. “They are capable of determining what is wrong with the weapon and make it operational – either by fixing the problem or sending it to the proper place for more extensive repairs.”
Through an interpreter, the Iraqi soldier and head instructor explained that the more work that can be done at lower levels, the more expedient the weapon repair process will be for everyone.
“I am very proud to be able to help my comrades in getting better performance from the equipment we, as Soldiers, rely on so very much,” said the instructor and noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the small-arms repair shop.
An Iraqi lieutenant colonel who commands the support battalion said that he was very pleased to have such capable soldiers. The prideful commander continued explaining that the soldiers who ran the course are intelligent and able to provide this much-needed improvement – which will in turn – improve the mission capability of the other combat units.
“This will make all the battalions better in taking on their united task to bring safety and stability to the people of Iraq,” said the battalion commander in command since 2006. “We all have the same mission to get rid of and destroy the terrorists that plague this country.”
During the ceremony, the head instructor displayed for an audience of approximately 35 people a montage of photographs highlighting the critical training process that took place over the 3-month cycle.
At the tail end of the graduation, the brigade deputy commander stated a simple fact. “If your weapon is broken, you can’t fix it without knowing how,” he said to the newly-graduated small-arms repairers. “Now, you do.”