By Spc. Grant T. OkuboJune 6, 2008
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq (Army News Service, June 6, 2008) -- Military police exuded a genuine, vested interest for the community as they patrolled the Baghdad neighborhoods surrounding Forward Operating Base Loyalty, May 31.
The military police -- Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division -- took time to speak to and play with children. At the same time, Iraqis reciprocated the kindness, showing their support for U.S. Soldiers patrolling the area.
One reason the MPs patrolled through the neighborhoods just outside FOB Loyalty was to provide backup to Iraqi Police, if they were needed, said Staff Sgt. Douglas Ferguson, a non-commissioned officer with the MP platoon. Additionally, Soldiers wanted to let Iraqi civilians know U.S. Soldiers are there with them.
Residents in the area seemed quite happy U.S. Soldiers were in their neighborhoods, Ferguson said. To extend his hospitality, one area resident offered visiting Soldiers sodas to quench their thirst as they patrolled through the heat of an approaching Baghdad summer.
The MP Soldiers hope to continue the good rapport they have established, said Ferguson. In addition, they want people to know U.S. Soldiers are approachable, and they should feel free to come to the Soldiers with any of their concerns.
MPs conduct similar operations as infantry and cavalry scout Soldiers, explained Ferguson. As examples, he mentioned they conduct route security and lookout for improvised explosive devices and insurgent activity.
Sgt. Joseph Quirarte, MP platoon noncommissioned officer, deployed previously with the Patriot Brigade to Afghanistan but has found the environment, culture and people during his first deployment to Iraq to be significantly different, he said.
Other MPs, such as Ferguson and Sgt. Benjamin Allen, have been deployed to Baghdad before and were stationed at FOB Loyalty then too.
There have been improvements in Baghdad since Allen's deployment in 2003. The Iraqi people are generally more willing to work and communicate with U.S. Soldiers now, he noticed. Although it doesn't seem evident when patrolling the many trash-filled streets that still exist in Baghdad, the streets are a little cleaner now than they were then, attested Allen.
Before deploying to Baghdad this time, Allen shared as much of his experience from his previous deployment with his brothers in arms as he could, however, things seem comparatively different now, he said.
Overall, Ferguson is pleased with the performance of his Soldiers, as they have done a great job of integrating and bringing new Soldiers "into the fold and up to speed," he said. "We're all working well as a team."