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250th troops train Iraqi soldiers
Story and photos by Pfc. Marissa A. Pavlak, UPAR, 250BSB

FOB Grizzly, Iraq – Sgt. Eugenio Santiago and Cpl. Tyrone Nichols, Soldiers from D Company 250th Brigade Support Battalion, coordinated training for Iraqi Soldiers from 3-37th Iraqi Brigade, on the new .50-caliber machine guns the Iraqi Army recently purchased.

“The Iraqi Army received new weapons they never owned before, so we got together to set up training for the soldiers,” said Sgt. Santiago.

Sgt. Santiago is originally from the 328th Military Police Combat Support Company. He was reassigned to D Company when his company was activated to deploy because his son, Sgt. Eugenio Santiago III, was in the same unit as he was and was also deploying. He was a .50-caliber machine gun instructor at Fort Dix and trained more than 15,500 Soldiers within two years.

Cpl. Nichols also worked at Fort Dix mobilizing and demobilizing Soldiers. After
processing more than 25,000 Soldiers, he decided to volunteer to go overseas with his brother Spc. Kiem Robinson.

Sgt. Santiago, Cpl. Nichols and the Soldiers from 3rd squad, 3rd platoon, D Company, 250th, conducted a four-day class on the fundamentals of the .50-caliber
machine gun. They trained the Iraqi soldiers on the basic


Above: Cpl. Tyrone Nichols inspects the chamber of the .50 caliber machine gun to make sure it is clear of any ammunition. Below: Sgt. Eugenio Santiago (l) and Cpl. Nichols (r) watch as an Iraqi Army lieutenant from the 3-37th Iraqi Brigade, charges the machine gun during the familiarization fire in the 250th's test fire pit.

operator tasks for the weapon, which included setting head space and timing, function checks, as well as loading and clearing procedures.

"The Iraqi Army was very eager to learn and work with the U.S. Soldiers," said Cpl. Nichols. "It was an honor to train them on what will be one of their standard weapons."

On the last day, the Iraqi soldiers conducted a familiarization fire in the test fire pit under the guidance of Sgt. Santiago and Cpl. Nichols, where they applied all the soldier skills they had been taught.

Each Iraqi soldier walked away with the confidence of being able to properly use the new weapons that will help them defend their country.

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Volume 34 Number 4 Staff / Information
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