By Sgt. Mary Phillips, 30th HBCT PAO, MND-BJune 23, 2009
BAGHDAD - Every day brings a different mission for Soldiers of Battery B, 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, on dismounted patrols in their area of operations south of Baghdad.
The patrols are almost always joint patrols, led by the Iraqi Army.
Recently, 1st Battalion, 55th Brigade, 17th Iraqi Army Division troops with Btry. B Soldiers providing security, led a patrol through a village that had become a hot spot.
"Our mission is to assist the Iraqi Army in a sweep of an area that has not been recently patrolled," said Staff Sgt. Brian Dawson, of Winston Salem, N.C., "We give guidance if needed."
The patrol swept through the area, looking for weapons caches and making their presence known. During the mission, Soldiers in the Iraq Army found an AK-47 assault rifle and a small amount of ammunition.
"The Iraqi civilian had a weapon he didn't have a permit for, and several different types of rounds that didn't coincide with the weapon he had on his property," said Dawson. Iraqi civilians are only allowed to possess one weapon per household and must have a permit.
The battery also assists the Iraqi Army with checking local community projects.
Lt. Mohaned, the Iraqi Army patrol leader, drove to a school being built in the area and checked on its progress while the Battery B Soldiers traveled with him.
Funding to build the school came from Coalition sources and the Soldiers regularly check up on these projects.
"The school is a project that has been ongoing and we like to check in on it," said 1st Lt. Daniel McCormik, of Cornelius, N.C., adding that the school is much closer to completion than when they inspected it two weeks ago.
Before visiting the school, the joint patrol looked in on Iraqi Police check points along the route, and stopped by a water filtration plant. Mohaned led the way throughout the patrol.
"We went to ensure that the personnel in charge of the water facility were maintaining it to standard," said Dawson.
Dawson said patrols also talk with local sheiks and key leaders in the area.
"When we go out on our patrols, we try to visit at least one person in our area that has influence on the locals," said Dawson, " We ask if there is anything they need help or guidance with, whether it be interaction with the Sons of Iraq or training Iraqi Army personnel."
It is important for Btry. B Soldiers to understand the area in which they are patrolling. This helps them to adapt to a constantly changing environment and respond to the demands of what each day may bring.