MOSUL, IRAQ –
In the midst of operations by Iraqi security forces to liberate the city of Mosul from ISIS, U.S. Army Paratroopers, deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, have been leveraging their skills to assist the Iraqis with their new Federal Police sniper training program.
The Paratroopers, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, are currently deployed in an advise and assist capacity and have been involved with the training since the program commenced, April 16, 2017.
“Snipers play a greater role because you need somebody there that can actually pull observation on maneuvering units, and watch elements farther away, and just kind of watch what’s going on around you,” said 1st Sgt. Erik Salo, a company first sergeant and partner force adviser assigned to 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div.
Iraqi security force snipers apply counter-sniper tactics as well as help observe and control the battlefield in a densely populated city.
According to an Iraqi Federal Police sniper instructor, the training has been instrumental in advancing the fight against ISIS in Iraq as the need for snipers steadily increases due to the urban fighting taking place in West Mosul.
The Paratroopers say since the training began, the Federal Police snipers have shown noticeable advancement in their marksmanship skills.
“When we first started working with them, their trigger squeeze needed improvement,” said Sgt. Jesse Trott, a sniper with the 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. “Their breathing, body position, just the way they held the rifles, needed just a little improvement.
"We were able to provide that guidance and show them some things that we teach in the American military that they maybe didn’t think of before,” he added. “That helped to shrink their shot groups, make them tighter, and increase their accuracy and precision.”
It’s not only their accuracy as snipers that is contributing to their success, said Salo.
“They’re extremely disciplined, and they’re well-organized,” he said. “They are a very, very capable fighting force, and it shows every time they go to Mosul, and they’re taking more and more land.
“The Federal Police is just an absolutely professional organization, and the fact they are incorporating snipers into that, it’s kind of a testament as to what they’re able to do.”
The Iraqi sniper instructor agreed that the training has shown tangible results.
“One of the trainees, after graduating the course, killed three ISIS militants on his first day in battle,” he said. “In regards to the training, the Coalition has helped to improve everything.”
The Paratroopers said they are more than happy to continue providing advice and assistance.
“Anything I can do to help the Federal Police to push ISIS out of the city is awesome,” said Trott. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The Iraqi Federal Police are equally as happy to be collaborating with the Coalition on the training, according to the Iraqi instructor.
“Thank you to the Coalition for their kind help and efforts,” he said. “The Coalition are really experts; they have the knowledge on how to not only be snipers but deal with snipers.”