On May 31, the Iraq Army's 5th Division, conducted a live fire exercise
near the training base at Kirkush, Middle East Newsline reported. The division, culminating a month-long
training rotation at Kirkush, fired such newly-acquired weapons as the
U.S.-origin M198 155 mm howitzer and 120 mm mortar indirect fire weapon
"Iron Lion is the provincial capabilities demonstration for the Diyala
province," Lt. Col. John Ring, a chief of security force assistance said.
"It is an opportunity for the Iraqi security forces in the province to
demonstrate all that they have learned and put their capabilities on display
to both local and national Iraqi leaders as well as the U.S. forces
Other Iraqi units in Iron Lion included Diyala police's emergency
response force and bomb squad. Officials said the army also employed
helicopters for combat air support during the exercise.
The army's Light Artillery Battery also fired shells in support of
ground troops. Diyala has been regarded as a major stronghold of Al Qaida.
"Our partnership allowed us to advise, train and assist these guys to
gain a familiarity with a 120 mm mortar system that was new to them, and get
them to a proficiency level where they are able to go out and effectively
place rounds on a target, and provide support by fire to the infantry
soldiers," Guo said. "They demonstrated that during the capstone live fire