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2/6 conducts smooth elections in AO

15 Dec 2005 | Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Zahn

Iraqis flooded the streets here Dec. 15 to cast their vote on a new parliament. The historic parliamentary election drew large crowds to the polling sites all over the city. By National Emergency Measures, the streets were empty of cars, with the exception of the Iraqi Police and Army units and approved shuttle buses. Thousands of people roamed the streets proudly displaying ink-stained fingers for everyone to see. The pavement that normally carried heavy vehicle traffic now had hundreds of children playing impromptu soccer games. The major difference on this day was the diminished presence of American units. The Iraqi Police and Army units were more visible than they have ever been. But, there was no doubt that U.S. Marines were somewhere, ready. Police cars sped through the streets responding to every crisis, no matter how small. Platoons of Iraqi army soldiers walked the streets. To facilitate security for Election Day, the military and police units cast their ballots early on Dec. 12. The Marines from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, hung back and let the Iraqis take care of poll site security. The Marines observed the city through numerous observation posts and were prepared to provide support to the Iraqi units. “We were ready for any scenario,” said Capt. David W. Pinion, company commander for Company E. “We could react in a speedy and flexible manner.” The Marines in the city described the scene as quiet and uneventful. “I don’t think that anything is going to happen today,” said Sgt. Efrain Parra, a scout-sniper with the battalion. “If the Iraqis want us to leave here then I think they know that they need to vote.” “Everything has gone great so far,” said Gunnery Sgt. Darren Stewart, company gunnery sergeant for Company E. “It’s never over until it’s over, until every poll site is closed.” With nine polling sites in its area of operations, which is the most heavily populated part of the city, Company E was the main effort for the battalion. “It went very well, very quiet,” Pinion added. “Not a hint of trouble in our area of operations.”