Paratroopers install vehicle scanners in western Iraq
November 30, 2009
COMBAT OUTPOST IBA, Iraq (Nov. 30, 2009) -- U.S. advise and assist forces installed vehicle-scanning equipment at several traffic check stations in Al Anbar province beginning Nov. 20, to help Iraqi security forces thwart the trafficking of weapons, explosives and other contraband.
Paratroopers with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, deployed mobile screening systems able to detect explosives, weapons, radioactive material and other contraband, at traffic control points along several major travel routes.
"We have requested smaller units, so we are very pleased to have these machines," said Capt. Mohanad, operations officer for 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, whose troops man a checkpoint in northeast Al Anbar province.
"We had no way to tell what is inside these trucks unless we manually inspect them, and that holds up traffic," he said.
Anbar-area Iraqi security forces requested the equipment as an added security measure in the run-up to national elections, slated for early 2010.
Paratroopers, partnered with ISF checkpoint guards, are operating the equipment, allowing Iraqi guards to continue with their normal inspection process unimpeded, according to Staff Sgt. Forsti Miller, a squad leader with 1/82 AAB.
At a checkpoint east of Fallujah, where Iraqi army, police and provincial security forces jointly inspect vehicles traveling between Baghdad and Al Anbar province, the guards were happy to see the explosives detection equipment, they said.
"This is a very busy place, but it is good here because it is relatively safe, and now it is safer," said Jasim, a member of the provincial security force.
(Spc. Michael J. MacLeod serves with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division Multi National Force - West Public Affairs.)