Sunday, January 13, 2008

Military News: Afghan, Iran, Iraq

The US Central Command has changed their layout, so I can now give you the link. Before, you would have had to move your mouse from side to side along the bottom of the screen to read the articles. Now it looks fantastic! (That reminds me, I have to change my link!) Here we go:
Afghan Commandos graduate Armorer Training Program.
by Media Center Bagram
Jan. 7, 2008
Bagram Media Center.

POL-E-CHARKI, Afghanistan (Jan. 7, 2008) — Eight Afghan National Army weapons specialists graduated from the first-ever Commando Armorer Training Program this month. The eight-week course, conducted at the Commando garrison here, taught students the unique aspects of Commando special weapons. Student armorers learn to inspect, repair and reassemble all weapons systems used by the Commando Kandaks (battalions).

Upon completing the course, armorers must be technically proficient and able to troubleshoot weapon malfunctions to support Commandos in the field. Armorers must be able to identify faults and make extensive repairs on all special weapons systems the Commandos use, including several types of handguns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns. They must also become experts on the more than 300 weapon-specific tools necessary to repair them.

During the two-month course, students completed hours of classroom instruction and practical exercises. Although each ANA soldier is capable of correcting minor problems with his individual weapon, the Commando armorers must become familiar with the intricate details of each weapon system, learning how to completely disassemble each weapon to its smallest components, and put it back together correctly.

“The course is not only physically strenuous, but it is mentally demanding,” explained one ANA Commando student. Students are faced with different scenarios where fellow Commandos present a variety of damaged weapons. The students must quickly troubleshoot the problem, repair the weapon and explain how to prevent future malfunctions. Students must also complete paperwork required to track the maintenance on each of the Kandaks’ weapons.

“The final test is called ‘the bag test’,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-82. “Twelve different NATO and Russian weapon systems are disassembled and placed into a duffle bag. The armorers have a set time to reassemble more than 150 weapon parts and conduct a function check on each assembled weapon system. This truly demonstrates their complete understanding and mastery of the equipment.

“Upon graduation, armorers are responsible for the complete inventory and maintenance of all special equipment assigned to their company. With more than 200 weapons per company, being an armorer is no small responsibility,” Belcher said. “These graduates are up to the challenge and eager to assume the vital role of supporting their companies in combat.”

Two students, selected as honor graduate and distinguished honor graduate for their exceptionally meritorious performance during the course, received certificates and a specially engraved multi-function tool to commemorate their achievement.

“These Commandos represent some of the most intelligent and talented soldiers in the ANA,” said an ANA commander. “Their ability to take the knowledge learned in this class and train their fellow Commandos makes them one of the greatest assets in the Commando Kandak.”

An Afghan National Army Commando weapons specialist, attending the inaugural Commando Armorer Training Program, demonstrates the proper procedures to clean, inspect and reassemble an M-240B machine gun. After graduating the eight-week course, armorers are responsible for the complete inventory and maintenance of all special equipment assigned to their Commando Kandak.

Source: CENTCOM.
Very educational, indeed!
Iranian boats approach U.S. Navy ships.

by U.S. Fifth Fleet Public Affairs
January 8, 2008
US Naval Forces Central Command.

BAHRAIN (NNS) — Following a routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz Jan. 6, three U.S. Navy ships operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf were approached by five Iranian small boats that demonstrated irresponsible confrontational behavior near the U.S. ships.

U.S. Navy ships USS Port Royal (CG 73), USS Hopper (DDG 70) and USS Ingraham (FFG 61) were steaming in formation at approximately 8 a.m. as they finished a routine Strait of Hormuz transit when five boats, suspected to be from the Islamic Republic of Iran Revolutionary Guard Navy (IRGCN), maneuvered aggressively in close proximity of the Hopper.

Following standard procedure, Hopper issued warnings, attempted to establish communications with the small boats and conducted evasive maneuvering.

Coalition vessels, including U.S. Navy ships, routinely operate in the vicinity of both Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and IRGCN vessels and aircraft. These interactions are always correct on the U.S. part and reflect a commitment to accepted tenets of international law and common practice.

A small Iranian boat approaches a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf. (From Defense Department Video.).

Source: CENTCOM.
If you want to hear more bs on why we didn't blow them to smitherines, go ahead and read it. Yes, I am still pissed. Those are our men and women on those ships. Can anyone say, "USS Cole"?

The Strait of Hormuz is international water, at least where we were. We should not have had to give them several warnings. That is counted as cowardice. They should get one warning and if that is not adhered to, they should have been blown up. PERIOD. Who would challenge us for protecting our people? DO YOU REALLY FREAKIN' CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT OPINIONS? Well, I CARE ABOUT OUR LIVES. So stuff it.
Marines train Iraqi Soldiers for battlefield success.
by USMC Billy Hall
Jan. 08, 2008
MNF-I.

QAIM, Iraq (Jan. 08, 2008) — Iraqi Soldiers are learning to fight and win on the battlefield with a little help from the U.S. Marines. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division, are not only are engaged in a constant training cycle with Marines at Combat Outpost North; they are excelling at it.

In the brisk winter breeze, Military Transition Team members partnered with Marines from Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, integrated key Iraqi Soldiers into their execution of several reactionary drills.

The Iraqi Soldiers observed and then participated in immediate-action and break-contact drills with the Marines so they could, in turn, teach their junior Soldiers the same tactics and procedures.

"It's very important to integrate our training," said Marine Staff Sgt. Charles D. Cox, a section leader for Weapons Company. "If we don't integrate, and it comes time for us to do a joint operation, not everyone will be on the same sheet of music. Should something happen, everyone needs to know how to react."

Training side by side while stationed together at Combat Outpost North, the Marines and Iraqi Soldiers interact daily.

"The closer we live, the faster they learn and the better they pick up on our techniques," said Marine Cpl. Aaron Missey, a squad leader with Weapons Company. "It's only a matter of time until we can all go home, and they can be secure in the fact that they have enough knowledge to stand on their own against oppressive forces."

The Iraqi Soldiers at Combat Outpost North have gained the respect and admiration of their Marine comrades and continue to excel at their training.

"These guys we had out here did exceptionally well," Cox said. "They were hand-picked by their company as some of their best shooters and top (non-commissioned officers). Now it's on them to go back to show the rest of their men and teach them how to use these procedures."

The Marines consistently observe the progress and proficiency of the Iraqi Soldiers, confirming the effectiveness of the training they undergo.

"The following days after an (enhanced marksmanship program), we could tell that they continued to practice while we were away," Missey noted. "We're not just firing off blank rounds. The things that we're teaching them in training, they're actually incorporating into their military tactics."

After a hard day's training, the Iraqi Soldiers were pleased with the new techniques and tactics they learned from the MTT. "The training was very good, very useful," one of the Soldiers said. "We're 100 percent happy."

In this file photo, Iraqi Soldiers with 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Division practice clearing a building at Camp Al Asad, Aug. 18. Marines from 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division were working with the Iraqi Soldiers to teach them close quarters combat. The U.S. Marine Corps remains committed to training the Iraqi Soldiers to one day stand on their own. Photo by Cpl. Shane Keller, Joint Combat Camera Center.

Source: CENTCOM.
Things appear to be coming along pretty smoothly when the Marines show up. ;) Digg! Digg!

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