AR RAMADI, Iraq --
Marines are finding new allies in the Global War on Terror as Operation Iraqi Freedom continues into its’ fifth year. Marines in the capital of Al Anbar are finding they can turn to the Iraqi Police for assistance.
“They’re like a neighborhood watch,” said Lance Cpl. Nicholas Wells, a Marine with Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, attached to the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Multi National Force-West. “They’re working with us so they can keep their city safe from insurgents.”
Marines are helping train the IPs to ensure they can fulfill the security mission.
“We’ve taught them about personnel searches and patrolling techniques along with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program,” said Wells, a squad automatic weapon gunner. “They’re willing to learn, so we teach them.”
A more experienced Marine also shared his thoughts on working with Iraqis. Lance Cpl. Adam Ryder was part of the battalion during the last deployment to Iraq, when 1st Bn., 8th Marines participated in Operation Al Fajir, known to Marines as Phantom Fury. Phantom Fury put a harsh face to the war with its house-to-house clearing operations which drew worldwide attention.
“They’re doing their jobs and taking charge of their country,” said Ryder. “It’s different than 2004.”
Ryder says his experiences have been radically different than he expected. The operations he has been a part of so far such as joint security operations and civil military operations are dissimilar from those performed in Fallujah during 2004.
“Before, it was completely a combat situation,” said Ryder, who re-enlisted during February 2007. “Now the situation is different and we are working with Iraqis against the insurgents.”
The men have developed bonds of friendship and respect. Wells said these bonds are useful in easing tensions and help to break through the language barrier.
The success of the police can be measured by Ramadi’s current state of relative peace and stability. Ramadi continues to shine as an example to the rest of Al Anbar to the benefits of the IPs and IAs working along with Coalition Forces.
“They want to learn as much as they can,” said the Hillsboro, Tenn., native. “The quicker we can train them to handle things, the faster we can hand over the security to them.”