U.S. military instructors have been working with the Iraq Army's 15th
Brigade since June 2010. The instructors said the commandos quickly absorbed
rudiments of the M-16.
"This was one of the most disciplined groups of Iraqi soldiers I have
worked with so far," U.S. instructor Cpl. Brandon Lamb said.
For several years, the U.S. military has sought to make the M-16 the
standard assault rifle in the Iraq Army. But the U.S. effort ended in 2009
as the Army decided to remain with the Russian-origin AK-47 Kalashnikov.
Instead, the M-16 was supplied to Iraqi special forces units, including
the commandos. Officials said the U.S. military provided several thousand
M-16s to the Iraq Army.
"They seem to have grasped a pretty good working knowledge of what we
have been teaching them," Lamb, who took the Iraqis through the four
marksmanship fundamentals of the M-16, said. "Now it's up to them to take
this knowledge and run with it."
Officials said the U.S. instructors would end M-16 training later in
2011. They said the governments in Baghdad and Washington were discussing an
extension of the U.S. military program.
"I am excited that Iraq is beginning to stand alone," Brig. Gen.
Amir, commander of 15th Brigade, said. "I look forward to the day when Iraq
is strong on its own and our two countries move forward as partners."