Monday, January 14, 2008

Iraqi Police Help Secure Homes of Displaced Citizens

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Members of the Narhwan emergency response team, specially trained police officers from Narhwan and Al-Ma’amil, cleared homes in the abandoned town of Sha Buu’t Jan. 3.

Scouts from Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, provided security for the operation. Iraqi Policemen, accompanied by the 59th Military Police Company, from Fort Carson, Colo., searched the houses for insurgents and weapons caches.

Lt. Col. Mark Sullivan, from Huntsville, Ala., commander of the 1-10th FA estimated more than 1,500 citizens in small villages around Narhwan have been displaced by insurgents operating in the area.

“They are all very anxious to return to their homes,” Sullivan said. “Five hundred people were displaced from Sha Buu’t and about 1,000 more were displaced from Khazaliyah, a short distance from here. We are going to help them return, but it will be a very deliberate process. We are going to make sure it is done right and everything is secure for them to return.”

Sheik Hussein, the Concerned Local Citizens Leader for Khazaliyah, was on hand with his CLCs to witness the operation and receive building supplies to construct checkpoints.

“Today was an operation to clear this entire area and eliminate any caches so the Concerned Local Citizens can set up their checkpoints,” said 1st Lt. Darrell Jones, from Allen, Texas, a platoon leader in the 59th MP Co. “The Concerned Local Citizens will occupy and hold these areas after we sweep them.”

Rob Rumfeilt, from Lake County, Calif., one of the international police advisors helping train Iraqi Policemen in the area, was happy with the team’s performance. Rumfeilt and other advisors have been training the team since September.

Just prior to this event, he and his police advisors gave the ERT special training focusing on skills needed for room and building clearing and reporting procedures.

“We put them through a four-day course taught by myself and the 59th MP,” Rumfeilt said. “We focused on responding to critical instances, close quarters battles and weapons handling.

“They are all business,” Jones said. “We don’t give them a lot of information about future missions, but they are always ready to go.”

The Concerned Local Citizens in the area should be standing up in about a week said Capt. Jared Albright, from Lancaster, Pa., the commander of Troop B.

“The fact that local people are doing it instills pride and trust in the local populace,” Albright said. “

Their presence frees up a lot of my combat power. I can send them out on more missions because they do not have to worry about guarding routes. Their presence will also be a nice buffer for the National Police.”

Albright said that the displaced citizens are anxious to return to their homes.

“They are very excited about it,” he said. “It will be good to get them back in their homes and provide them with security.”

One of the displaced sheiks was on hand to speak with Sullivan and Albright and expressed his gratitude for his imminent return. He explained that Sha Buu’t was a 53-year-old settlement and he had missed his home terribly.

Sullivan explained that he and his Soldiers would do everything in their power to get him and his fellow residents back in their homes as quickly as possible.

“The Concerned Local Citizens will be the start,” Albright said. “We will help them patrol and secure the area. We are going to do what we can to get these people back on their feet.”

The 1-10th FA and 3-1st Cav. Regt. are assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and have been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

No comments: