Skip to comments.Iraqi Army receives M-16 and M-4 rifles
Posted on 05/11/2007 6:44:12 PM PDT by mdittmar
CAMP TAJI, Iraq At the start of May, Iraqi Army recruits at the Regional Training Center here began receiving new M-16 and M-4 rifles.
The Iraqi government made the decision to crossover from standard AK-47 assault rifles to the American rifles as part of the reshaping of their military and security forces.
Under the program, Coalition Military Assistance Training Teams issue enlisted IA troops the M-16A4, while officers receive the M-4. With 200 basic training recruits per rotation, CMATT officials estimate that 1600 IA soldiers will receive the new weapons by the end of May.
According to Lt. Col. Walter Easter, Military Transition Team commander and senior advisor to the RTC, the exchange is as much a symbol of the new IA as it is an upgrade to the individual soldiers capabilities.
The M-16 has long been considered the worlds best rifle, Easter said. Theres a high percentage of [Iraqi Army recruits] who can shoot more accurately than we expected just because of the better weapon system that they have.
The weapon exchange is just the first step in a five-day program of instruction for the Iraqis. However, new rifles are not handed out in a one-for-one swap. Coalition Forces assign each IA recruit a weapon using a high-tech, biometric issue system.
Verified against a master list and having tuned in his old rifle, the IA soldier and his new M-16 continue on to one of ten biometric stations, where he is finger printed, undergoes a digital retinal scan and is photographed with the M16s serial number. Officials then transfer the information to a database in Baghdad, to ensure accountability and to prevent the weapon from ending up in the wrong hands.
We are very excited about it, said a 9th Iraqi Army Division second lieutenant, whose name is withheld to protect his identity. We have been hearing about getting the new weapons for some time and finally they are here.
U.S. Department of Defense civilian contractors provide hands-on instruction modeled after the same training American troops receive. Familiar box drills, sight picture training and live-fire weapon zeroing provide consistent and effective basic marksmanship skills.
It does a number of things for the basic IA soldier, said George Conrad, an assistant team leader providing the primary marksmanship instruction. The better weapon system puts the IA forces in sync with coalition troops and it builds their confidence.
Conrad said they have all seen change and new equipment at the higher echelons, but now, the soldier in the dirt has something new, something tangible, in his hands.
Its a sign of hope that things are changing, he said. Its something that needed to be done.
Easter said that training at the Taji RTC would continue at the company-size level, with program augmentation at Besimaya Range later this summer for IA battalions.
“Officials then transfer the information to a database in Baghdad, to ensure accountability and to prevent the weapon from ending up in the wrong hands.”
I think that will mean more than better accuracy.
I hope the Iraqis like their new rifles ....
The Pentagon convinced them to spend around two billion of their oil money to replace the AK-47 with American weapons like the M-16.
Like all commie countries, they are hurting for hard currency ... but nobody wants those rifles, at any price. It's not the ammo, Russia sell .223 as as cheap as the AK-47 round. Just nobody wants them.
And after that maintenance unit got hit in Gulf War Two, can ya blame them?
You think Iraq is making a mistake buying M-16 from the US?
Thanks for your input.
I believe the American military has become the model for the new Iraqi Army and anything they can do to copy or imitate our military adds to their confidence and professionalism. Weapons are just part of the package. I would doubt that pressure by the US alone would be enough to make the Iraqis switch from the familiar and widely accepted AK-47.
But if I were an Iraqi unit commander, ya, I'd object.
Care of equipment and weapons isn't a acceptable Third World concept. (While under the influence of Oklahoma Thinking juice, a couple of buddies and myself actually buried a MAK 90 in the backyard, where sprinklers went on once a day. After a month we dug it up and drove to Lyle Creek. A quick swab with a rag and it was good to go)
Something to note, though - it will make it easier for our guys to blend in, and harder for the bad guys.
After the surrender they had something like 700,000 of them. That’s why you see Palestinians, latino revolutionaries, and African terrorists, etc, carrying them. Half a million of them spread out all over the world, and not to the good guys.
PS. Is Iraq thinking about joining NATO???
I’ve never seen a Latin American thug with one, but I recall seeing Mexicans in one of the rebelling southern provinces with STEN Mark 3’s.
I think we gave the Pali’s about 5,000 in one of our attempts to give the Palestinian Authority some kind of respectability.
I hope that works better than the Valmet M-76 I used to own.The .223 seems to be a poor choice in an AK variant,the extractor would tear the heads of the cartridges if the chamber was a bit dirty.And that was with a chrome chamber,I think an AK prefers a larger cartrige head and a shorter case length.
Kind of sets the tone for an intelligent conversation?
My point is that Third World countries just don't take care of their stuff.
Personally I love to blast my SIL's AR-15, but I have the luxury to sit down and give it a good cleaning before it goes into a locked closet and I bring out the barley pop.
What government really would want a bunch of worn out M16’s from the 60’s? M16’s can be a very effective weapon, providing they’re well maintained and not worn out, but I’d bet any M16’s in VN’s armories are neither. I handled plenty of old jammomatic M16A1’s back in the 80’s and I hated them, but when they gave us new M16A2’s I had to change my opinion of them. The new rifles were both reliable and accurate.
As an owner of both (civilan versions) I can say I prefer the M-16. Take a 15K acre state park, fence it in, give me a cabin and him a cabin and give both of us supplies. Then say one of us gets an AK and the other an M-16 and that I get to pick first, I’ll pick the M-16. I know it’s limitations but if I see him at 200 yds, the game is over.