By Staff Sgt. Jeff Hansen, MND-B PAODecember 21, 2009
BAGHDAD - Security technology is constantly improving and changing; satellites, infrared cameras and biometrics systems are at our fingertips. However, sometimes a good old-fashioned foot patrol is the best way to go.
Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division put boots to the Iraqi mud during a foot patrol at Joint Security Station Ur, Dec. 15.
Although the unit is equipped with Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1A1 Abrams tanks, Soldiers used their feet to travel the streets during their most recent presence patrol.
According to Capt. John Ulsamer, commander of Company A, foot patrols are less intimidating, and the unit gets better cooperation from the local populace.
Trekking through muddy streets, surrounded by local children, the Soldiers made contact with several townspeople, conducted impromptu vehicle searches and handed out flyers to children.
The flyers informed children of the risks of carrying around toy guns and running around military convoys. 1st Lt. Nicholas Ramos, a platoon leader with Co. A, said the safety of the children is just as important as ensuring the village's overall security.
"We just want [the Iraqi people] to know we are still here for them," said Ramos, a Nokesville, Va., native who has been part of these patrols for over six months.
Not ones to take much time off, troopers also conducted a patrol the next evening. This time the Iraqi Army led the way into Sadr City to look for a weapons cache.
The search was driven by a cache that exploded on the grounds of a school while the students were burning trash. School officials requested that the IA clear other schools in the area to ensure insurgents hadn't hidden any additional caches.
The combined patrol consisted of IA, U.S. Soldiers and a military working dog. In the past, dogs have proven to be a crucial asset to the team.
"We can only find so much, but Gina finds everything," said Senior Airman Nicholas Kench, a working dog handler.
Ulsamer said he considers both missions successful. Although his Soldiers like excitement, sometimes having no excitement is better in the long run.