Training Iraqi mortar teams a success
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq -- Iraqi soldiers assigned to the 6th Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division, graduated from mortar training provided by Soldiers assigned to 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Dec. 7.
The Iraqi soldiers were given extensive mortar training by 1-9 Cav. Reg. Soldiers over a one-month period.
"The soldiers here completed the full course of mortar training," said Pvt. Jeremiah Klatt, assigned to A Troop, 1-9 Cav. Klatt, taught the Iraqis how to use U. S. mortar systems.
"It went really well," said Capt. Ben Jackman, the commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. "It was one of the most impressive training events I've seen."
"They were taught techniques for Forward Observers (FO), the differences between small and large deflection, as well has how to execute fire missions," said Sgt. 1st Class Andre Bundick, the mortar platoon sergeant for C Troop, 1-9 Cav. "They grasped the training well, and were very apt to learn."
Each of the 11 mortar crews trained on U. S. and Yugoslavian mortar systems, rehearsing crew drills and how to properly set up a firing position. They were taught FO and Fire Direction Center (FDC) techniques and how to establish a fighting position.
They learned three basic types of calling for fire and firing techniques such as direct lay and small and large deflection were also taught.
"They were very professional and well disciplined," said Klatt, who was on the firing line teaching the various techniques to the Iraqi soldiers. "They did very well with the hands on portion of the training."
The culminating event was a live-fire exercise in which the Iraqis performed simulated fire missions, relaying them to the FO's who reconfirmed with the FDC, and then calling for fire and engaging targets with their systems. This type of training will enable the Iraqi soldiers to conduct and maintain training of their own in the future.
The mortar training was not the only weapon system operating on this day. Various field artillery, scout weapons teams and close air support ran dry runs over the training site.
As well as learning a valuable skill, the Iraqi soldiers were also able to interact with their American counter-parts and created lasting bonds of camaraderie.
"I received very good training from them" said Iraqi Army Spc. Hashem Khalf, a newly trained mortar-man assigned to 6-3 IA Div. "We learned from them and they learned from us, and they showed us a great amount of respect, and I look forward to this type of training again."
This mortar training is part of larger and more extensive effort for U.S. Division North units to train their Iraqi Security Forces counterparts during the course of Operation New Dawn.
Article by Spc. Coltin Heller, 109th MPAD