Photo Information

Camp Ripper,Al Asad, Iraq (May 21, 2005) - A member of the reconnaissance company of the 7th Iraqi Security Battalion practices shooting the M-9 during his freetime in between training sessions. (Official USMC photo by Cpl. Ken Melton)

Photo by Cpl. Ken Melton

ISF soldiers learn combat tactics at Camp Ripper

21 May 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Marines with Regimental Combat Team-2 jump team recently helped train members of Reconnaissance Company of the 7th Iraqi Security Battalion on methods of fire and maneuver, here.

The training will help them improve their combat efficiency by being able to attack on the move while limiting the enemy’s chances of counter-attacking effectively.

“This is a very basic technique that we all learn in the infantry field,” said Sgt. Andrew J. Wittmer, an RCT-2 instructor during the training phase.  “This will help them learn other infantry movements as other training takes place.”

Wittmer, 25, who like the other instructors, is an infantryman now working on the commanding officer’s personal security detachment.  He escorts the RCT-2 Commander, Col. Stephen Davis, to and from various training exercises depending on the operational tempo.  And he also uses his knowledge and talent to train his Marines and the ISF soldiers.

“We started by doing individual rushes,” said the Peoria, Ill. native.  “This is a technique for advancing quickly on the enemy without leaving yourself too exposed.  After they grasped the concept of that, we moved up to squad level.”

During the squad level phase, the Marines taught the soldiers how to stage a base of fire to suppress the enemy.  Meanwhile, the other part of the squad moved in a different direction to engage the enemy more closely.

“When they reach the designated spot, they shoot a flare to stop the first squad from firing as they advance with individual rushes,” said Wittmer.

The Iraqi’s were attentive and seemed eager to learn the new methods. Most squads completed it successfully on the first try.

“The Marines gave us great instruction and we understood the maneuver completely,” said the 7th ISB 4th squad leader Abu Elaf. “This movement gives us the proper training on how to occupy a target effectively.”

“We can use it in almost any situation from buildings to palm groves,” said the 37-year-old. “We will successfully use this method during our fight with the insurgency in Iraq.”

As the training ended, the instructors could tell that the ISF soldiers grasped the technique and could apply it if the situation arose.

“These guys are quick learners and they even seemed to have fun while learning the techniques today,” Wittmer said.  “I feel comfortable knowing that these guys have been trained properly and that they will keep their country safe once the immediate threat of terrorism is defeated.”