Monday, March 15, 2010

Troopers Have Towering Presence on Border

Col. Paul English, left, goes over tower emplacement sites with 1st Lt. Frederick Do while inspecting a tower site on the Iraq-Iran Border Feb. 25. The towers are being emplaced to help the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement crack down on illegal smuggling.
Story by Cody Harding

COL SHOCKER, Iraq – The Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement, the Government of Iraq's primary force for border security and the interdiction of smuggling, continues to keep an eye on the border with Iran.

They pursue and catch smugglers who attempt to cross the border with weapons, drugs or other means of harming the Iraqi people.

With help from A Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, the Iraqi border guards of 3rd Battalion, 7th Brigade, Department of Border Enforcement, have added a new watchtower along Iraq's border with Iran. The new tower will help trained observers crack down on smuggling and reduce the presence of insurgents.

Sgt. Steven Glatfelter, a non-commissioned officer with 1st Platoon "Assassin" Troop, said that working with the Iraqi DBE is a good mission for the unit.

"It's like working with any Iraqis," he said. "There's challenges like language, but they're eager to learn and they like working with us. They're very friendly and engaging."

The two-story tower, emplaced on the boundary between the 7th Brigade and 8th Brigade of the DBE, was placed in the area due to intelligence suggesting the area to be a possible smuggling route, said Capt. Travis Trammell, Assassin Troop commander.

The experience of working with the DBE is a new one for Assassin Troop, who have worked with the Iraqi Police and Army in the past, but not with the DBE, said Trammell.

"The tactics and techniques of the DBE are somewhat foreign to the troops", he said. "But it has given them an opportunity to learn and they've enjoyed it. It's an interesting setup that the DBE have and it's something to see."

Glatfelter, who is from Kinsers, Pa., said that he has seen substantial improvement in the border guards since his two previous tours in Iraq in 2005 and 2007.

"First time we were here, they were just following our lead", he said. "It was a fledgling military force we were working with, and now they run the show. We are here now as an advise and assist brigade and that's what we're doing."

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