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US Army, Air Force conduct joint 'fires' exercise with Iraqi Army


US and Iraqi soldiers in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle during the joint defensive-fires exercise at Besmaya Range Complex. Photo: US Army.

BAGHDAD (BNS): US soldiers from the 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and US Air Force F-16 fighters along with the 17th Iraqi Army Division had conducted a four day full-scale defensive-fires exercise at the Besmaya Range Complex outside Baghdad.

In the exercise the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Federal Police commanders learned about the full training possibilities available from individual weapons qualification to full-scale exercises from US Army.

"The main purpose was to show the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) how they can best utilise the range, the joint training also helps the ISF develop and tailor itself to meet future needs." Maj. Robert Olszewski, the 1st AAB information operations officer, said in a US MoD press release.

The exercise demonstration began with US and Iraqi snipers on a small hill reacting to simulated enemy fire. Following the sniper team's demonstration, the US tanks rolled onto the site to provide support as fighters reacted to simulated enemy fire.

A large-scale training operation like this is rare, because the Army and Air Force do not often get opportunities to work together in training scenarios, the benefits of the demonstration provided more than just a demonstration of the range capabilities, Air Force Lt. Col. Kevin Jablow, said in the release.

However, the main focus remained on the ISF.

"The range here is extremely effective and extremely capable, it is going to carry on for years and years, and the more experience they get on it, the more training capability it will have for the Iraqi army and Iraqi air force, he added.

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