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    Afghan Soldiers Train to Fight With M-16 Rifles

    Afghan National Army Soldiers train to fight with M-16 rifles

    Photo By Spc. Luke Austin | On the rifle range at Camp Thunder Afghan national army Base, Gardez, Afghanistan, ANA...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Luke Austin 

    33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    CAMP THUNDER, GARDEZ, Afghanistan — Afghan national army soldiers implemented the same techniques to produce the familiar sound of gunfire last week at the rifle range.

    This time, however, the ANA soldiers had to familiarize themselves with the new look and feel of the M-16 compared to the often inaccurate and outdated AK-47 rifle, said 1st Sgt. Hamid Shezad, the Engineer Company first sergeant for 4th Kandak, 1st Brigade of the 203rd Corps, who qualified on the range, May 6, his first day of shooting.

    "When I qualified on the M-16, it was a little difficult to get used to the differences," said Shezad, "but once I got the hang of it, I found the front and rear sights were actually easier to aim with than the AK-47."

    The switch is due to the NATO Weapons Modernization Program, which is in the process of fielding all elements of the ANA with M-16 rifles and other NATO weapons such as the M203 grenade launcher and the M249 automatic machine gun, as well as other automatic weapons, said Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Louis, the NATO weapons fielding non-commissioned officer for Afghanistan regional security integration command-east, regional corps advisory command-east.

    "Each corps is sent what's called Mobile Arms Room Containers," said Louis. "All weapons for 203rd Corps Soldiers are sent here [Camp Thunder] because this is where they train on the new weapons."

    Louis is also a mentor for the Range Control Officer at Camp Thunder, and has seen many ANA 203rd Corps Soldiers learn to fire their new M-16s.

    Weapons are sent in 20- or 40-foot Mobile Arms Room Containers, and usually belong to a certain company or kandak. The number of weapons allotted for each corps is based on that corps' Tashkiel, a document reflecting how many personnel, including their positions, are in each corps, said Louis.

    Although ANA soldiers have a difficult time getting used to the new weapons, Shezad says they understand the need for it.

    "It's a much more accurate weapon," he said, "it may need to be maintained more often, but it's more accurate, allowing us to fire at our enemy more effectively from further distances."



    Date Taken: 05.20.2009
    Date Posted: 05.22.2009 05:35
    Story ID: 33947
    Location: CAMP THUNDER, AF 

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