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Soldiers Provide Mortar Training for Iraqi Army

By Army Capt. Kevin Wolf
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GARRY OWEN, Iraq, Feb. 9, 2009 – Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team conducted mortar-familiarization training here for troops from the 10th Iraqi Army Division’s 38th Brigade.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
An Iraqi soldier demonstrates the proper way to insert a 60 mm mortar round into an indirect-fire weapon system during a familiarization training class at Forward Operating Base Garry Owen, Iraq, Feb. 5, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Kevin Wolf

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“Every day we are learning [new skills] about the mortar indirect-fire system and how to read a map,” said Cpl. Ali Huthoof of the Iraqi brigade’s mortar battery.

The two-week course focused on map reading and the fundamentals of mortar-indirect fire accuracy on enemy targets. The Iraqi soldiers also learned how to handle and load munitions into a mortar weapon system.

The students identified hills, valleys, and other terrain features on a military map, and demonstrated their ability to determine the distance between those terrain features, which helps to ensure accuracy.

“The Iraqi soldiers participated “vigorously and enthusiastically” in the classes, said Spc. Clifford Stringfellow, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, who facilitated the training. “They always ask questions and ultimately demonstrate tactical and technical proficiency.”

Iraqi army officials said the mortar training will prepare their unit to display their new skills during a combined live-fire exercise Feb. 22. The Iraqi soldiers will demonstrate their ability to engage an enemy target in a short period of time by firing a combination of indirect and air-delivered munitions on a simulated village to demonstrate how effectively their firepower can destroy enemy targets.

(Army Capt. Kevin Wolf serves in 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.)

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