AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Although not one of the usual job descriptions for a United States Marine, many are finding themselves thrust into the role of teacher and advisor for the newly recruited and trained Iraqi Army.
However, one Marine, Cpl. David Rohrich, recently found himself in that position on a patrol with the IA, Jan. 18.
Rohrich, an infantryman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, has been in Iraq since September and been a part of two historic elections while working closely with numerous IA units to help them prepare to take responsibility for their own country.
“We took the IA out on a patrol to help show them some of the tactics we use as well as what they need to know when they are in charge of the city,” said the 21-year-old Bismarck, N.D., native. “We do this a lot, helping teach the IA how to interact with the locals, set up security positions and giving tips on proper patrolling techniques.
“This patrol went really good, we had a few communications problems early on, but we fixed those and moved on to the mission. The IA has come a long way since we started working with them; they still need work on how to interact with the locals, but they’ll master those skills over time.”
Although not what he expected, working with the IA does bring unique rewards. Things like working with a different culture and the pride that comes with deploying with the Marine Corps is something that Rohrich will never forget.
“It’s rewarding in the long term when we can see them operate on their own,” he said. “Day-to-day it’s frustrating because of the language barrier. But now, when we see them conduct platoon sized operations successfully, we know that those weren’t wasted months of work.”
Between working with his fellow Marines to secure the streets here and the time spent working with the IA, Rohrich believes that the Coalition Force’s goal of handing back a secure and stable Iraq is possible.
“I think that the more we help build the IA, the more successful this will all be because they are from this country and know the culture,” he said. “Because they know this place better than us, they can ultimately give more back. It’s not going to happen overnight, but you can definitely see a change in their attitudes toward Coalition Forces since we got here.”