FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Iraqi Security Forces and 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment personnel detained four insurgent supporters at Northeastern Fallujah’s Entry Control Point-One A Aug. 10.
Cpl. Jason T. Johnson of Oak Creek, Wis. assisted Iraqi soldiers in apprehending one insurgent wanted for possessing weapons, to include rocket propelled grenades.
“The guy we nabbed was on our battalion’s target list,” explained 26-year-old Johnson, who was serving as ECP-1A’s sergeant of the guard at the time of the insurgent’s detention. “They were the ones who actually caught him, because they recognized him as one of the guys on the wanted list. They brought him up to us, and sure enough, the name and face on his ID matched the photo we had.”
Troops also detained two other citizens accompanying the insurgent at the time for questioning.
Meanwhile, military personnel apprehended another insurgent for possible involvement in a firefight that had broken out near the ECP minutes before. The insurgent carried packs of “shocking” chewing gum.
Insurgent use these electric packs of gum, sold as toys in novelty shops, to torture prisoners, forcing them to bite down on the fake gum, said Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Dodd, ECP-1A’s staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. The victims are shocked with 110 to 240 volts of electricity when they bite the gum -- the same voltage as a standard U.S. home.
Johnson, a 2001 graduate of University of Wisconsin – Parkside, and his fellow Marines currently oversee the ISF searching cargo and vehicles entering Fallujah.
The joint forces assumed control of ECP-1A and nearby ECP-1 in mid-July. Since then, they have apprehended five men wanted for weapons possession and known for emplacing improvised explosive devices along Fallujah’s streets. These roadside bombs are currently one of the primary weapons used by insurgents.
Johnson and the Marines supervise the Iraqi forces as they search and admit more than 4,500 people into the city everyday.
“We work really well with the ISF,” Johnson stated. “Today, they caught this guy all by themselves; I was just there to confirm his identity. They have really exceeded my expectations in how quickly they’ve learned to search people and vehicles properly.”
His battalion has conducted every patrol and counter-insurgency operation alongside ISF personnel since arriving here in mid-March. Accordingly, the two nation’s troops man several check points outside Northern Fallujah, where they search citizens and vehicles entering the city for weapons, explosives and anti-Iraq propaganda.
Currently, only residents, students, and those on official business may enter Fallujah, due to safety concerns. Coalition and Iraqi forces continue barring insurgents from entering the city to make it a safer place.
Johnson said the terrorists’ apprehension today is an example of this Iraqi-American cooperation.
“Days like today really make this job worth it,” he added. “There are times when you’re bored and tired of standing hours on post, but it’s no big deal in the end. Days like these make you feel really good about catching the bad guys.”