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Iraqi Army receives M-16 and M-4 rifles
By Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Conner, 13th SC(E), LSA ANACONDA PAO
May 11, 2007 - 9:08:22 PM
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A training aid, designed to show IA recruits the proper sight picture for the M-16A4 rifle has instruction manuals translated to Arabic to help recruits adjust from the AK-47 assault rifle. The different sighting system between the two weapons has been one of the biggest adjustments for the soldiers to make. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Conner, 15th SB, PAO)
Blackanthem Military News, CAMP TAJI, Iraq – At the start of May, Iraqi Army recruits at the Regional Training Center here began receiving new M-16 and M-4 rifles.

The Iraqi government made the decision to crossover from standard AK-47 assault rifles to the American rifles as part of the reshaping of their military and security forces.

Under the program, Coalition Military Assistance Training Teams issue enlisted IA troops the M-16A4, while officers receive the M-4. With 200 basic training recruits per rotation, CMATT officials estimate that 1600 IA soldiers will receive the new weapons by the end of May.

According to Lt. Col. Walter Easter, Military Transition Team commander and senior advisor to the RTC, the exchange is as much a symbol of the new IA as it is an upgrade to the individual soldier’s capabilities.

“The M-16 has long been considered the world’s best rifle,” Easter said. “There’s a high percentage of [Iraqi Army recruits] who can shoot more accurately than we expected just because of the better weapon system that they have.”

The weapon exchange is just the first step in a five-day program of instruction for the Iraqis. However, new rifles are not handed out in a one-for-one swap. Coalition Forces assign each IA recruit a weapon using a high-tech, biometric issue system.

Verified against a master list and having tuned in his old rifle, the IA soldier and his new M-16 continue on to one of ten biometric stations, where he is finger printed, undergoes a digital retinal scan and is photographed with the M16’s serial number. Officials then transfer the information to a database in Baghdad, to ensure accountability and to prevent the weapon from ending up in the wrong hands.

“We are very excited about it,” said a 9th Iraqi Army Division second lieutenant, whose name is withheld to protect his identity. “We have been hearing about getting the new weapons for some time and finally they are here.”

U.S. Department of Defense civilian contractors provide hands-on instruction modeled after the same training American troops receive. Familiar box drills, sight picture training and live-fire weapon zeroing provide consistent and effective basic marksmanship skills.

It does a number of things for the basic IA soldier, said George Conrad, an assistant team leader providing the primary marksmanship instruction. The better weapon system puts the IA forces in sync with coalition troops and it builds their confidence.

Conrad said they have all seen change and new equipment at the higher echelons, but now, the soldier in the dirt has something new, something tangible, in his hands.

“It’s a sign of hope that things are changing,” he said. “It’s something that needed to be done.”

Easter said that training at the Taji RTC would continue at the company-size level, with program augmentation at Besimaya Range later this summer for IA battalions.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 
Iraqi Army recruits looks through the sights of their new M-16A4 during box drill training at the Taji RTC rifle range. The training helps recruits attain the proper sight picture through the unfamiliar rear sight aperture and front sight post of the M-16. One of the biggest challenges for IA soldiers to make is the adjustment between the sighting systems of the old AK-47 assault rifle and the American made M-16. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Conner, 15th SB, PAO)
An Iraqi Army sergeant major "rods" a recruit onto the range prior to the start of live-fire weapon zeroing at the Taji RTC. A familiar safety practice for American troops, the drill ensures the M16 is unloaded and that the rifle%u2019s chamber is free of rounds. The five-day training course, by coalition forces and DoD contractors, provides primary marksmanship instruction modeled after current U.S. forces training. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Conner, 15th SB, PAO)

A 9th Iraqi Army Division recruit is shown how to safety his new M-16A4 during a live-fire range at the Taji RTC. Under a program by the Iraqi government, the American-made M16 and M4 rifles replace the current AK-47 assault rifle. The decision has been a morale and confidence boost for the initial IA soldiers who took part in the exchange program which began May 1. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Conner, 15th SB, PAO)

An IA recruit from the 9th IA Division loads ammunition into M-16 magazines during a live-fire zeroing range at the Taji RTC. The 5.56 x 45 mm NATO ammunition is a change from the 7.62 x 39 mm used by the AK-47 assault rifle. The Iraqi Army began a weapon exchange program May 1 to issue the American made M-16A4 to enlisted troops and M-4 rifles to it%u2019s officers. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Conner, 15th SB, PAO)


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Gerald W Cummins
29 Sep 2009, 07:56
can you provide me with a list of materials and construction measurements for the Army box sighting exercise ??

I am looking to start a Police Explorer rifle team.

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