FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq (Army News Service, Sep. 19, 2008) -- The battlefield is set. Two armies standing across from each other, their commanders poised, about to engage in conflict to decide who the victor will be.

A Soldier looks at his options, determines the risk and then makes his move, strategically calculating the consequences of his actions. He moves his knight into position, and his opponent nods his head approving of the move.

Playing chess with the Iraqi Police is just one way the Soldiers of Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment spend their free time with Joint Security Station Five, just outside of Numaniyah.

Two different groups of IPs from Special Response Team Three rotate every week out to the JSS.

"The most important thing we do is work with the IPs," said Sgt. Nicholas Weisenberger, Btry. A, 2-20th FA Regt. "We learn a lot from them. They're real good at identifying what is normal and what isn't out at the traffic control point."

Weisenberger recalled an example of when an eighteen-wheeler driver had pulled over on the side of the road outside the JSS and got out to check out his rig. The IPs explained to the Soldier on guard that truck drivers often pull over to check their mufflers and engines, to make sure everything is working all right.

The IPs insightful knowledge of the area and people helps the Soldiers differentiate between what could be perceived as a threat and a normal action, Weisenberger said.

"They know what they're doing," he added.

Soldiers at the JSS also spend evenings playing volleyball with the IPs, which improves the camaraderie and friendship.

"They're eager to learn and they bond real well with our Soldiers," he said.

(Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson works for 41st Fires Bde. Public Affairs Office)