HADITHAH, Iraq -- Soldiers with Iraqi Security Force and Marines with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment conducted a patrol here interacting with the locals and meeting with key member of the community.
Lieutenant Col. Nooman J. Mohammed, commanding officer of the local ISF and Capt. Kevin J. Klostermann, the executive officer with Company I led their troops through the city to identify community needs and disrupt insurgent activities.
“We stopped by a few businesses and talked to people as we passed by,” said Klostermann, a 34-year-old Buffalo, N.Y., native. “We want the people to know that we are here to help keep the insurgents out of their city.”
The Marines’ and soldiers’ first stop during the patrol was at a nearby women’s clinic. The staff at the clinic discussed numerous problems including shortage of workers and medicines, lack of patients due to fear of insurgents and poor utilities at the clinic.
Klostermann and Mohammed noted their concerns to bring them to the attention of members with 5th Civil Affairs Group.
“Apparently some of their medicines, including their controlled substances, were stolen by insurgents,” the 1990 West Seneca East Senior High School graduate said. “And the poor condition of their city’s water is the main cause for diseases, something that we will hopefully be able to help fix in the future.”
The patrol continued into the busy city market where Marines and Iraqi soldiers handed out fliers and interacted with the local populace. The officers spoke with the business owners and purchased items at several stores as a sign that they also wanted to help their economy as well as protect them from insurgents.
“It’s great that we have the ISF here with us,” the 1995 University of Rochester graduate. “They get a better response from the people and when they see that we are here together it helps build trust in multi-national forces.”
The soldiers and Marines remained vigilant even through this relaxed period. The patrol did not stay long in the area and continued back to their base.
Klostermann believes that patrols like these will help multi-national forces in the area get more attuned to the community and provide security for the people.
“With time, we will see more improvements in the city,” he said. “Regimental Combat Team-2 and all its components have made great strides over the past few months and we will continue seeing improvements in the futures.”