Photo Information

CAMP HURRICANE POINT, Ar Ramadi, Iraq (April 29, 2005) -Corporal Dan L. Grabinski, legal administrative clerk with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marine Regiment, fills his secondary billet as the day non commissioned officer in-charge of the detainee facility here. The 21-year-old from Schiller Park, Ill., processes expected insurgents his fellow infantry battalion leathernecks snatched up out of the city while conducting security and stabilization missions. With help from three other Marines, Grabinski runs the detainees through the biometric automative tools system, which helps them distinguish members of the insurgency from innocent Iraqi civilians. Detainees found guilty of committing terrorist acts are sent to the Abu Ghraib Prison. Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Schiller Park, Ill., Marine is battalion’s legal clerk, warden

3 May 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

When Cpl. Dan L. Grabinski isn’t assisting his fellow Marines in various legal matters, such as wills and powers of attorney, the legal administrative clerk with Headquarters and Service Company assumes his secondary role as the infantry battalion’s warden.

The 21-year-old from Schiller Park, Ill., is the daytime noncommissioned officer in-charge of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment’s detainee facility.

“Our mission is processing suspected insurgents that the Marines have captured and brought in here,” explained the 2002 East Leyden High School graduate, who’s assisted by three other Marines during the 12-hour shift.

Grabinski and his team use Biometric Automated Tools to help them distinguish members of the insurgency from innocent Iraqi civilians. The BAT is a system of laptop computers, fingerprint readers and digital cameras.

“We run the detainees through the BAT system, which shows us if they have a record, if they’ve been detained before and for what reasons,” he said. “We’re basically doing what police do back in the States when they run background checks on suspects.”

Grabinski added that the detainees that show up on the BAT system as having an outstanding record for terrorist activities undergo further processing and are eventually sent to the Abu Ghraib Prison. “We lock up the bad guys and release the good guys,” he said.

During their stay at the facility, Grabinski ensures the detainees are treated properly.

“We strictly follow the Geneva Convention,” he explained. “We keep track of all their personal belongings they had on them when they were brought in. They get their belongings back when they leave.” 

Having face time with insurgents who are responsible for injuring and killing Marines is an aspect that makes working at the detainee facility difficult sometimes, according to Grabinski.

“We know some of these guys are guilty of planting (improvised explosive devises) and they’re right in front of us,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure we maintain our discipline and remain professional at all times. We can’t mistreat them regardless of what they’ve done. It’s tough, but they’re human beings just like us.”

Grabinski volunteered to work at the detainee facility when the battalion arrived here two months ago and started conducting security and stabilization missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I told them I’d be glad to help out because I want to do my part in the effort.”

Grabinski said he finds satisfaction in helping rid Ar Ramadi of terrorism so the Iraqi people can have a chance to prosper.

Marines serving alongside Grabinski, who was meritoriously promoted to his present rank, find him to be a motivated, competent professional.

“He’s outstanding because I can give him instructions and he will run with them and accomplish the missions,” said 2nd Lt. Eldon W. Beck, the battalion’s adjutant and legal officer. “He’s professional and really demonstrates the Marine Corps’ spirit of getting the job done.”

Grabinski is on his second deployment to Iraq and is the second member of his family to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor while serving in a foreign land.

“My grandfather was in the Battle of Iwo Jima,” he said. “I’m proud to be carrying on the tradition of being in the Marines during a war.”

2nd Marine Division