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    Operation Shining Star combines mortars, tanks and infantry into live fire exercise

    Operation Shining Star combines mortars, tanks and infantry into live fire exercise

    Photo By Sgt. Jeremy Spires | The night sky is illuminated by multiple flares during Operation Shining Star, an...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Jeremy Spires 

    36th Infantry Division (TXARNG)

    BASRAH, Iraq – A green star cluster flared in the night sky, marking the beginning a complex night maneuver by the 14th Iraqi Army Division on the banks of Tea Leaf Island located north of Contingency Operating Base Basra.

    The night’s event, called Operation Shining Star, displayed the 14th IA Division’s combat and security capabilities by combining mortars, tanks and a river crossing into a live-fire exercise.

    “Today we are going to view 52nd Brigade, 14th Iraqi Army Division’s water crossing exercise,” said Maj. George S. Sellers, an officer in the Iraqi Security Forces cell for the 36th Infantry Division. “It is a dynamic night river live-fire exercise that is completely planned and executed through the 14th Iraqi Army planning cell. So we are looking forward to a dynamic exercise utilizing mortars, river crossing, and T-55 Tanks operated by the Iraqi Army.”

    The live-fire exercise demonstrated the ability of the 52nd IA Bdrigade, 14th IA Division’s ability to plan and execute training for the most difficult combat operation, projecting combat power across a water obstacle.

    “We [USD-S] provided a mentor relationship with the 14th IA Division to help in developing the concept of the exercise and then going through some of the planning events that lead up the execution of the exercise,” said Brig. Gen. Len Smith, Deputy Commanding General – Maneuver for the 36th Infantry Division, who was a guest of honor at the event.

    The 14th IA Division had been conducting rehearsals from the platoon and company level all the way up to the battalion and brigade level for weeks to show the Iraqi people that they are committed to making the exercise a success.

    “This exercise, more than anything, is to show the Iraqi populace that the Iraqi Army is ready to execute highly complex missions in a safe environment,” said Sellers. “To control live-fire executions while utilizing tanks, mortars as well as infantry movements all succinctly planned and executed. Not since 2003 has the Iraqi Army conducted an exercise of this extent at night, so this is truly an epic operation on the part of the 14th Iraqi Army Division.”

    The exercise also culminated more than a year’s worth of advising, training and assisting efforts between the 14th IA Div.ision and battalions from United States Division – South. Upon completion of Operation Shining Star, the 14th IA Div. will begin preparing for another, more complex mission, later this year.

    “After successfully completing this exercise they will move onto Operation Lion's Leap, which is the next evolutionary step in the Iraqi Army planning processes,” said Sellers. “It is now a joint exercise involving Iraqi special operations, Iraqi Navy, Iraqi aviation, and the command battalion for the 14th Iraqi Army Division; all in one succinct exercise in Umm Qasr here in USD-South.”

    “I think it was great,” remarked Smith on the successful completion of the operation. “I think they really took to heart a lot of guidance and mentorship that we gave them. They were able to do a lot of things that were not normal or traditional in the way of doing things. In this military, a lot of their officers were trained under some of the Soviet models from the Cold War days. So what they have been able to do is take those things that they were trained on and then apply what we are teaching them as our model, and they are actually blending the two together to come up with something that is workable for them but is also of a standard that we would recognize in the United States.”



    Date Taken: 02.25.2011
    Date Posted: 02.26.2011 07:13
    Story ID: 66131
    Location: BASRA, IQ

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