News: Iraqi maintenance crews learn weapon repair techniques
Story by Spc. Andrew Ingram
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION K1, Iraq – Iraqi army maintenance soldiers assigned to the 12th Iraqi Army Division studied the proper procedures to evaluate damaged rifles and machine guns, provide necessary repairs and reassemble the weapons.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew Everly, brigade armament technician, Company B, 101st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, led the training course at 12th IA Div. Headquarters in Kirkuk province, Iraq, May 22.
By working with Iraqi soldiers to improve skills and abilities, U.S. Soldiers provide Iraqi forces with the confidence to take responsibility for their nation’s security, said Everly, who hails from Chanute, Kan.
“This training is really just a confidence builder for these maintenance guys,” Everly said. “It all ties into the broader scope of the Iraqi people taking responsibility for their own security.”
Now that Iraqi soldiers worked with and put hands on the weapons, the students can take what they learned, build on it, and pass the lessons onto fellow soldiers, said Everly.
During the training, Everly gathered the IA maintenance teams around one of the machine guns and offered a hands-on approach to describe the proper method to disassemble the weapon, identify problems and fix the weapons.
“They are training to identify a fault, remove the fault and put a new piece back in,” explained Everly as the students practiced dissembling and reassembling weapons in teams of two.
When it comes to weapons, hands-on training helps students far more than lectures and slide presentations, Everly said.
Sgt. Ackmed, a maintenance soldier with 12th IA Div., said he agrees with Everly’s method of teaching.
“Nothing man-made is too complex for us,” said Ackmed. “With the tools we have been given and hands-on training, we can learn how to fix even the most complex machines.”
Everly worked with the Iraqi teams for three days, introducing them to new weapons, including the M4 carbine, M16 rifle and the Russian DShK machine gun, commonly known as the “Dishka.”
“The Dishka is a Russian weapon, but we found an English manual and with some practice, we figured out how to maintain it ourselves,” said Everly.
Ackmed said he plans to pass on his new skills to his soldiers and comrades in the future.
“This training is very important for the future of Iraq,” said Ackmed. “It’s important for all of us to understand how to properly take care of our equipment.”