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Iraqi Unit Trains in Jordan for Counterterrorism Mission

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

AMMAN, Jordan, March 17, 2005 – Anyone who doubts the capabilities of the Iraqi elite units should see the demonstration they put on at the Counter Terrorism Force range near here.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited the range today as part of a trip through the region.

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers watched as an Iraqi unit undergoing training stormed a three-story house. Using live ammunition, the Iraqi soldiers rushed into the house from every direction, including from the top. Iraqi specialists rappelled down the outside and tossed in concussion grenades. Then they entered the rooms with rifles and pistols blazing. Two soldiers hung upside-down as they fired through picture windows on the second story.

In another training area, Iraqi soldiers again stormed into a one-story house, cleared it of terrorists and rescued hostages. Again, the Iraqis used live ammunition, tossing stun grenades into rooms, then following. They fired at targets in the rooms. The team members shouted commands back and forth as they progressed through the rooms. The chairman watched the action from a catwalk above the rooms.

At still another range he watched as Iraqi soldiers practiced weapons handling and honed their shooting skills.

The counterterrorism range is at the bottom of a huge quarry that has been providing "Jerusalem stone" to buildings in the region for thousands of years, said a Jordanian officer.

After the demonstration, Myers spoke with members of Jordan's 71st Counter Terrorism Battalion and U.S. soldiers with the 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, N.C. The Special Forces soldiers said the Iraqi troops are very, very good. "A little more than half have previous military experience," said one Special Forces soldier. "The rest do not. But they all have caught on well." The soldier said only one Iraqi washed out of the course.

The Iraqi soldiers go through a four-week course in Jordan. Jordanian experts work with American trainers to give the Iraqis the necessary skills to take on the insurgents and terrorists in their own country. Almost 100 members of the Iraqi unit are at the training area now.

Myers said units like this have been responsible for killing or capturing insurgents and disrupting their plans. In part, he added, his visit was to thank the Royal Jordanian Army for its help in training these Iraqi soldiers.

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