Photo Information

AR RAMADI, Iraq (May 26, 2005) - Sergeant Charles F. Crellin, a rifleman and the training noncommissioned officer for Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, walks through an empty class room at the Al Jaod Elementary School here during a civil affairs mission with 4th Platoon, Company C and Marines with Team 1, Detachment 3, 5th Civil Affairs Group, which is direct support of the infantry battalion. The 28-year-old from Cincinnati and his fellow Marines surveyed the school and determined what repairs and supplies are needed. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

1/5 Marines work to gain trust, befriend Ramadi locals

26 May 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Elements of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, conducted a civil-military operation at an elementary school here May 26. Company C’s 4th Platoon and Marines with Team 1, Detachment 3, 5th Civil Affairs Group, which is in direct support of the infantry battalion, surveyed the Al Jaod Elementary School and determined what repairs and supplies they needed. “We’ve gone past this school while on patrols, but this is our first time to stop and make a physical introduction,” said Maj. Benjamin B. Busch, 5th CAG’s team leader. Marines with 4th Platoon secured the area around the school and prevented insurgents from interfering during the operation. Sergeant Charles F. Crellin, a rifleman and the training noncommissioned officer for Company C, led the way into the schoolyard, which was empty except for the headmaster. “He told us that the children have taken their final exams and have been let out,” said the 28-year-old from Cincinnati. The 1995 Glen Este High School graduate provided security from the schoolyard while the headmaster gave Busch and his translator a tour of the area. “There’s some broken windows here,” said Busch, a 36-year-old from College Park, Md. “They also need basic school supplies.” According to Busch, the school needed minor structural repairs to fix broken doors, windows, desks and chalkboards. The supplies needed range from pens and paper to tape and textbooks. Busch said he’d conduct another operation to deliver the school supplies and a local contractor will be hired do the repairs. In addition to surveying the school the operation was aimed at developing a positive relationship between coalition forces and the citizens of Ramadi. “This man (the headmaster) is a leader in this area,” explained Crellin. “By fulfilling his needs at the school here, it shows him that the Marines mean well.” The school is in Company C’s area of operations. Building a relationship the school’s faculty and surrounding neighborhood benefits the Marines because they might provide them with information regarding insurgent activity, he said. “We’re helping him and he’s helping us. It’s also important to establish a trust and friendship with him because it will carry over,” he said. “He’s going to be the same guy our successors will be working with.” Attracted by the soccer balls and other gifts that sometimes come out humvees, several Iraqi children gathered around the up-armored vehicles during the mission. Crellin and the Marines were prepared, though. They handed out candy, watches and other trinkets to their young, smiling friends. “I bring a bag of candy with me every time I go on a mission just for this reason,” Crellin said. “They really like it.”
2nd Marine Division