By Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti, 1st BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div., MND-BMay 18, 2009
BAGHDAD - Based out of Joint Security Station Ur, Soldiers from Company A "Warriors", 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Battalion, 44th Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division continued to march as they wiped the sweat from their brows during a joint patrol in Hamandiyah, in northeast Baghdad, May 14.
Now in the transition phase of the security agreement, Coalition forces operate hand-in-hand with the Government of Iraq (GoI) and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). All missions are joint efforts between Coalition forces and ISF in an effort to better equip the ISF with all necessary knowledge, training, and experience as well provide a safe, stable and more secure Iraq in accordance with the security agreement.
Joint patrols are an everyday routine for the "Warriors" and the ISF.
"We don't do a patrol without them," stated Lynchburg, Va. native 1st Lt. Joshua Vandegriff, platoon leader for Co. A. "Everything we do is done with them."
The "Warriors" and the ISF meet before every patrol to discuss proper tactics and techniques used during tactical operations. The meetings also give Coalition forces and ISF the opportunity to discuss goals for the patrol, recent activity in the area, and tips provided by people in the community.
During the May 14 patrol, joint forces walked through the community and talked with citizens to inquire about possible suspicious behavior in the community. The IA also elected to visit a home in the neighborhood in an effort to obtain information on possible extremist activity in the area.
"Our counterparts are taking all the right steps. It's good to see that they are aggressive and proactive in their missions and getting the bad guys off the street to make their community a better place for the Iraqis to live," Vandegriff said proudly.
Most patrols are routine, designed to show a presence and ensure the security of the community. The IA often follow-up on tips provided by sources in the community, speak with citizens of the community, and work to build friendships and bolster support.
This last month before officially and completely handing everything over to the Iraqi Security Forces is crucial, said Vandegriff. The steps taken right now, to ensure they have all the training they need, will set our counterparts up for success in the future, when it is completely up to them.
"They have taken the reigns. They beat the streets everyday; knock on doors, talk to the people in the community and gain the trust of local nationals to build relations to convey they are protecting the area," said Vandegriff.