KIRKUK, Iraq, Jan. 25, 2007 -The Emergency Services Unit here, with support from 25th Infantry Division soldiers, conducted an early morning cordon and search operation Jan 20 outside the city.

The unit searched three villages for contraband with 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment soldiers, while an American civil affairs team spoke with locals to gauge living conditions in the area.

"The villages were thoroughly searched," said 1st Lt. John Byler, A Company platoon leader. "These guys are allowed to have one AK and one magazine. A couple guys tried to get away with five so we'd take the extra four."

While no contraband was found during the search, the unit's professionalism should help build confidence with the populous, Byler said.

"The ESU (Emergency Services Unit) are some of the better guys that we work with," Byler said. "They're well-trained by and large. We're here for support and guidance."

While the unit searched house to house, Spc. Richard Hy of the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion, spoke to the mukhtar of Ilnhraom, a village of about 1,000 residents. The mukhtar is the village leader and a valuable source of information.

The mukhtar expressed the village's desire for a medical clinic, Hy said. The village is also in need of a water treatment system to replace their current irrigation system.

Hy said that after his team has collected the information, they will figure out what they are able to do to help the village, in hopes of building better relations there.