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V Corps Release

Release Date: 12/08/2003

By Cpl. Todd Pruden 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi Police Service officers recently had the chance to hone their sharpshooting skills on a live-fire weapons range with the help of military police soldiers assigned to V Corps' 18th MP Brigade, Task Force 1st Armored Division.

The 382nd Military Police Detachment, an Army Reserve unit from San Diego, Calif., provided the training as part of the three-week Iraqi Police Integration Program. The program is intended to teach Iraqi police officers basic weapons fundamentals and police tactics and help them to brush up on their police skills.

"They are going to be more effective police officers," said Cpl. Kenneth Johnson, the 382nd MP's weapons range NCO in charge. "Many of them have never fired a weapon."

Johnson said the weapons portion of the training consists of two days in the classroom, learning weapons use and safety, followed by four days on the weapons range. The last day on the range is weapons qualification day.

"Nobody taught them the basics of shooting a firearm," said Johnson. "They were taught to put rounds down range and pray it hit the target."

According to one officer, the Iraqi police rarely practiced with a weapon at all.

"There was no shooting and there were no good pistols before," said police Capt. Sammad Al Hayani.

The fundamentals that are taught to the Iraqi police include the basics of marksmanship such as breathing control, trigger squeeze and sight alignment. Basic muzzle awareness is also taught.

On the firing range, behind the police academy here, the officers practiced on paper targets printed with human silhouettes.

The students practice shooting from three distances -- the furthest from the target is 15 meters -- using Glock 19 Series pistols.

"They had no idea of the capabilities of the weapons," said Johnson. "I have to believe that under the old regime they were given no self-confidence. It is good now to see them confident in their own abilities. They are going to be a more valuable asset when they learn to use their weapons."

"I think it is very good to help protect ourselves and our citizens," said Hayani. "We will now be able to do that."

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