Featured News

Iraqis graduate advanced marksmanship course

15 Jul 2006 | Cpl. William Skelton

A graduation ceremony and encouraging words from Lt. Col. David J. Furness marked the completion of an advanced marksmanship course for six Iraqi soldiers here July 15.

Marines of 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment held the ceremony to recognize the graduates from 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division as they head out to fight insurgents.

“This was a very difficult course,” said Pfc. Thabit Deoin Dulaymi, a 31-year-old soldier with 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division. “I learned a lot and the further we got in the course the more competitive we got.”

The Iraqi soldiers participated in the four week course that taught them tactics to help fight the insurgency plaguing Iraq. The soldiers were chosen based on their skill as basic marksmen.

“Our operations officer picked us to take part in the class,” said Cpl. Rahim Hantosh Humod, a 30-year-old soldier with 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division. “We were chosen based on our skills as shooters.”

During the course the soldiers trained and lived with their Marine counterparts. They were taught physical training and classes on marksmanship.

The course culminated in two weeks of combined combat operations that proved to the soldiers they were ready to hit the streets.

“During the field training we were observing areas in the Gharmah area,” Dulaymi said. “While we were there we stopped insurgents from planting an IED [improvised explosive device].”

The soldiers, along with their Marine instructors, engaged three insurgents attempting to emplace an IED in the road. When the smoke cleared, the soldiers and Marines captured one insurgent wounded in the leg.

“The insurgent was digging a hole to bury an IED,” Humod explained. “But we stopped him before he could do it.”

The soldiers’ faces gleamed with pride as Furness pinned Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals on two of the Iraqi soldiers for actions during the engagement. Also present was 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division’s Commanding Officer Col. Najim Abdullah Menahi Salmon to see his soldiers graduate.

“I am very proud of what my men have accomplished,” Salmon said. “These men have accomplished a lot during this course and it is good they are recognized for it.”

The ceremony was held in front of 1st Battalion, 1st Marines’ headquarters aboard Camp Fallujah. The Marines congratulated their Iraqi students once the ceremony was over.

“This was a great bunch of guys,” said Staff Sgt. Kristopher A. Puffer, the 29-year-old platoon commander from Westville, Ohio. “They trained hard and learned a lot from the Marines.”

Throughout the battalion’s deployment, they have seen more and more responsibility for security in their area turned over to Iraqi forces.  Courses like this one increase the skills and capabilities of Iraqi soldiers, enabling them to take charge and provide security for the people of Iraq.

“We will be able to help the people of Iraq more now,” Dulaymi said. “They will be able to feel safer and trust in their Army.”