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Iraqi soldiers get advanced marksmanship course

23 Jun 2006 | Cpl. William Skelton

Proper breath control, a slow steady squeeze of the trigger, these are a few of the skills soldiers from the Iraqi Army put into practice here recently.

Marines from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment taught six Iraqi soldiers an advanced two week-long marksmanship course aboard Camp Fallujah.

“This course is very good,” said Iraqi Army Pfc. Thabit Deoin Dulaymi, a 31-year-old soldier serving with 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division. “I think we will be able to fight insurgents better with what we are learning.”

Six Iraqi soldiers were picked to take part in the intense course. The Marines taught them techniques to make them a more lethal force to combat insurgents in the area.

“The Iraqi soldiers were picked by their operations officer,” said Staff Sgt. Kristopher A. Puffer, a 29-year-old platoon commander from Westville, Ohio. “He picked their best marksman to participate in the course.”

More responsibility for security is being turned over to the Iraqi Army as the Marine battalion approaches the end of the deployment.

The battalion has conducted training with the Iraqis on a regular basis through out the deployment to help prepare them for future missions.

“One day all of the country will be ours to patrol, to take care of,” said Iraqi Army Cpl. Ahmed Waleed Muhid, a 23-year-old soldier serving with 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division. “Everything we can learn is only going to help us be better to fight insurgents.”

The Iraqi soldiers ate, slept and trained with their Marine counterparts during the course.  They participated in unit physical training as well.

“We put them through a ‘daily dozen’ and then took them up to a three mile run,” Puffer said. “We wanted to ensure they had the stamina to operate out on the battlefield.”

The meat of the course was the marksmanship training. The Iraqis learned weapons maintenance and procedures on one of their own rifles.

“The overall goal of the course was to teach the Iraqi soldiers marksmanship,” Puffer said. “To get them mentally and physically prepared for situations they might face.”

The platoon of Marines that taught the course was excited about taking part in the project. In turn, the Iraqis were just as excited to take part in the education.

“The Iraqis were extremely motivated throughout the training,” Puffer said. “The further we got in the course, the more competitive they got with one another.”