By Sgt. Daniel J. Nichols, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Armd. Div., MND-BMarch 8, 2009
BAGHDAD - "There's no need to worry about this area, there's Paratroopers on the ground," said Lt. Col. Dave Bair, of Fairfax, Va., commander, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi National Division - Baghdad, speaking of the East Rashid district where he and his troops work every day conducting security patrols and participating in civil affairs efforts to help the people and the local economy.
The increasing capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces enables one Coalition brigade combat team to operate across an area that previously saw the presence of four BCT's.
The Doura Market, a thriving marketplace filled to the brim with a variety of shops selling everything from bread and fruit, to clothes and music, holds a central focus for the Paratroopers.
They have worked consistently with small business owners here to improve the economy and increase the good relationship between the citizens of East Rashid and Coalition forces.
For the Fort Bragg, N.C. based Soldiers, the current level of security and safety is an encouraging sign for both the citizens living in the East Rashid area, and themselves.
"When you're not getting shot at and there's not firefights going on, that's a good thing," said 1st Lt. Chris Timmerman, of Russia, Ohio, a platoon leader for Company C, 1st Bn., 505th Parachute Inf. Regt. "It says something about the units that were there before you and the progression you've made between what it was like during the last go around and what it's like now."
Although the Soldiers are the primary Coalition force in the area, officers from the 7th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division are the lead element in the security of the area.
"I've seen the National Police generally lead while we follow and support," said Timmerman. "We're trying to convey to them that they're the ones in charge, and we're here to provide the support if they need it."
"In the past we've been conducting a lot of combined patrols with the National Police," said 1st Lt. Michael Telford, of Cincinnati, Ohio, 3rd platoon leader for Company C, 1st Bn., 505th Parachute Inf. Regt.
"The ISF are very strong," said Telford. "They're confident, and talking to the guys [in my unit] who were here last time ... the ISF are a lot more confident now than they were before."
Communication and building a working relationship between the 1st Bn., 505th Parachute Inf. Regt. and NP forces, has constantly progressed since the Paratroopers arrived on the ground a few months ago.
"Since we've been working with them on a daily basis we've developed a really good rapport with them," said Timmerman. "The benefit of getting to know them really comes out when it comes time for operations. They're much more open with us on things like, 'Hey we're going to do this cordon and search,' or 'We have a lead on an IED that was found last week,' and they'll share a lot of that [information] with us at the company level as opposed to us waiting for their brigade or battalion to send that information to our battalion and then send it down to us."