By Staff Sgt. Alex Licea, 3rd BCT PAO, 82nd Abn. Div., MND-BMarch 31, 2009
BAGHDAD- Traffic is common in a city of seven million people. With the lingering threat of roadside bombs at any turn, Paratroopers work daily with their Iraqi counterparts to ensure the people of Baghdad are safe on the highway.
Walking along side a busy road is no easy task. Coalition Forces and their Iraqi partners have to contend with the dangers of improvised explosive devices and speeding motorists on the roadway.
Despite the dangers of this foot patrol, it's a mission Soldiers assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, take very seriously.
Working in Baghdad's 9 Nissan district, Paratroopers and Iraqi soldiers patrol the area in order to keep the highway safe from violent acts against Iraqi citizens. "This is one of the main roads into Baghdad and if it is not clear then people will be scared to drive on it and it can affect commerce, daily life and security as a whole," said 1st Lt. Logan Cole, a platoon leader for Company C.
Cole and his men patrol with Iraqi Army soldiers assigned to the 3rd Bn., 44th IA Bde., 11th IA Division. Cole said the frequent patrols have given his men a good perspective of the roadway and helps them identify anything new or suspicious on the road.
"The good thing about doing this everyday is that we get to know what the terrain looks like and familiarize ourselves with the area," said the native of Fort Knox, Ky. "When we see something new in the area, we can recognize it right away and look into it."
Working with the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based Soldiers, Iraqi army officials have credited the combined efforts in keeping this once violent stretch of highway safe.
"Because of these patrols, this area is safe and secure," said Iraq Maj. Abd Alrhamen Jaber. "These efforts have helped reduce the threat of IEDs and attacks have gone down significantly in this area."
Sgt. Robert Durst, of Douglasville, Ga., said the efforts of his unit and their Iraqi partners have led to lasting peace and safety in this region of eastern Baghdad.
"This is a very busy and important road, and we save a lot of lives because we patrol this area everyday looking for anything that can endanger the area and the people," he said.