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Home > UNS > 150202-02



US Army Special Ops gives paratroopers AK-47 training

by Staff Sgt. Mary Katzenberger
3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Feb. 2, 2015) – Paratroopers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, took advantage of a unique opportunity to learn about the AK-47 rifle, Jan. 22, during a hands-on class at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg.

Special Forces Soldiers with the USAJFKSWCS, the Army's Special Operations Center of Excellence, taught the paratroopers about the AK-47 in preparation for their deployment to Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces.

Approximately 1,000 paratroopers from 3rd BCT are slated to deploy in the coming weeks and will work with the ISF to instruct them in a range of military skills to enable them to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The paratroopers, a mix of noncommissioned officers and junior paratroopers, learned the characteristics of the AK-47, how to disassemble and reassemble the weapon and how to perform a functions check. The Special Forces Soldiers also taught the paratroopers how to sight the weapons, priming them for their upcoming mission with the ISF.

An instructor with the USAJFKSWCS said he appreciated having the opportunity to teach the paratroopers as they prepare to deploy.

“When we are able to exchange knowledge we’re more than happy to do it,” he said. “As a Special Forces weapons sergeant, it’s my job to teach them.”

Sgt. Thomas D. Pedigo, a paratrooper assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, said the class was very beneficial because he had no prior experience handling foreign AK-47 rifles.

“If we’re training host-nation forces, it’s good to know what type of weapons they use,” Pedigo said. “Just learning a different weapon system [was great].”

Spc. Anthony D. Jones, a paratrooper assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 505th PIR, is optimistic the knowledge will help him and his fellow paratroopers perform their advise and assist mission to the best of their ability.

“The most valuable part [of the class] is the level of knowledge the instructors have about this weapon system,” Jones said. “I’m glad these guys let us come down here and get the opportunity to get some hands-on training.”