For two months, the U.S. Navy Detachment 1, Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1, deployed to Contingency Operating Site Garry Owen partnered with Iraqi Police 1st Lt. Hissinin, commander of the 50-man Special River Police Company, providing hands-on training in every aspect of river patrolling operations.

This partnership and training led to a graduation ceremony May 15, 2010, in Amarah, Iraq, for a dozen new maintenance crew members and boat operators who completed the river patrolling academy in Baghdad.

The provincial governor, Mohammed Shaia Al-Sudani, the provincial council chairman, Abidul Hussein, and the provincial chief of police, Maj. Gen. Ashmail Arrar Khadim Al Majidi attended the ceremony along with Lt. Col. John P. DiGiambattista, commander, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, at COS Garry Owen.

After the ceremony, the SRP Co. confidently displayed its new river patrol boats and maneuvering capabilities to the audience.

The SRP Co.'s graduation reflects the Iraqi Security Forces' growing capability to protect the people of Maysan Province.

"The training we received is a direct contributor to our success, and the SRP is now a great contributor to the security operations in Maysan," Hissinin said. "As of now, the SRP is officially ready to begin operations."

The SRP conduct security patrols, save lives, deter swimming in restricted areas, move supplies and provide support to other Iraqi Security Forces in the area, said Lt. Col. Majid, public affairs officer for the Maysan Police, which means that they multiply the effectiveness of other ISF units as well.

"The training our police are receiving is excellent, it is increasing our security, and overall force protection," he said.

According to Navy Lt. Chris Garcia, commander of Det. 1, the focus of the river patrol mission is waterway security. However, smuggling interdiction, rescue operations and basic patrol boat maintenance are all skills the Iraqi Police are learning from the partnership.

Interacting with the local population and requesting them to lower or raise their "crossing lines" helps to develop a working relationship and foster trust with the people living along the Tigris River, Garcia said.

For example, if local residents see an Iraqi Police officer riding on a U.S. Navy patrol boat waving to children, or a U.S. Sailor assisting an Iraqi SRP mechanic with engine problems, they will see that the two forces are cooperating and have a strong relationship, he said.

To the average Iraqi, these examples are necessary to show that the security situation is getting better, he said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16