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Photo Information

II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

ISF, 3/25 bring heat during Operation Saif

29 Jun 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Iraqi Security Forces, guided by Marines with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment patrolled the streets here today during Operation Saif (Sword) to clear it of insurgents. The patrol was an example of the growing capabilities of the ISF, said Sgt. Shawn Bryan, the 34-year-old Marine that led the patrol. Marines involved in the patrol agreed that the ISF impressed them. “I think they are proficient and they know what they are doing after watching them today,” explained Bryan, an Albuquerque, N.M., native. “They understand the maneuvers and know how to patrol.” According to Bryan the ISF soldiers were very aware of cover and concealment and how to cordon off an area during a patrol. “They are doing a good job out here. They’re very quick to pick up what we teach them and I rarely have to tell them to do something twice; their leaders help make it happen,” Bryan explained. Bryan said that their sergeant is their strongest point because the junior troops automatically do what he tells them to do. Sgt. Khaled Thamer, from Basrah, Iraq, was the Iraqi squad leader during the patrol. “I like working with the Marines because they are well trained fighters and they train us well so we can train other Iraqis,” Thamer said. Thamer believes in what he is doing and sees the importance of conducting patrols through the cities. “I’m protecting my country and I feel every Iraqi has to stand up and fight for his country and democracy,” he continued. “These patrols we go on are important because we gain experience in conducting them and we help keep the streets clear of insurgents which is what all of us (ISF) are here for.” Along with patrolling the 35-year-old squad leader has learned a number of other qualities from Marines. “I’ve learned how to be honest, to do my job to the best of my abilities and to always help others before myself,” Thamer explained. “We look at Marines as mentors and we try to be like them. We couldn’t have learned all of this without them.” After the patrol was conducted and the ISF and Marines returned to their base of operations within the city, Bryan congratulated them on a job well done and explained the importance of what they had accomplished. “They are actually out in the field doing these combat patrols. The training wheels are off and they’re riding the bicycle now,” Bryan continued. “It’s their country and they made sure the streets were clean and with a little more experience, I think they’ll be ready to do this on their own.”