Featured News

ICDC trains with Marines for Fallujah patrols

26 Apr 2004 | Sgt. Jose E. Guillen

Teams of Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers and Marines began practicing patrols here Monday in what is shaping up to be the shining hope for decayed security situation in Fallujah.

Regimental Combat Team 1 Marines, who have largely been in Fallujah since the beginning of April, spent the day teaching Iraqi soldiers infantry basics for foot-patrols in urban environments.  Joint patrols between Marines and ICDC forces are due to begin in days. 

Marines used an abandoned brick factory near Fallujah as a training camp.  The obstacles, hemmed-in alleys and building mirrored what Marines expect in the urban sprawl.

"We want the ICDC to be self-reliant... to train them ultimately to an end-state to where they're responsible for security for their country," said Capt. Morgan N. Savage, commander of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.

For now, Savage added, there would be more evaluating than actual training.

"We're taking small steps right now," he explained. "Assessing their capabilities is important. What we're working for is to do joint patrols with the ICDC so that civilians don't just see Marines, but the Iraqis as well."

Marines demonstrated patrol techniques and formations while ICDC soldiers observed from the sidelines.  After seeing the example, they mimicked the Marines.

"We're also going to rehearse patrols integrating the Marines and ICDC, to see how they move through the streets," explained 1st Lt. Frederick K. Stokes, Company K's 3rd Platoon Commander.

The plan is for the ICDC and Iraqi police to lead the patrols, with Marines following in trace.

"We're training together to get a feel on how they will react under enemy contact," Savage said. "So that it's not chaotic when we take fire and we don't have weapons pointing in different directions."

This isn't the first time ICDC soldiers worked with U.S. forces.  The Iraqis trained with the Army's soldiers last year.  Still, it's a matter of confidence and familiarity both groups want before they head out into Fallujah.

"I think it's a good thing that we get them spun-up and trained to get them ready to fight their own war," said Lance Cpl. Jacob T. Nelson, an assault team leader.

"For now, they're also going to learn simple basics like hand-and-arm signals and making sure they know how to walk in town," said Lance Cpl. Dustin J. Landendorf, a fire-team leader.  "After a couple of days of training, we'll find out what kind of trust they have in us."

Marines training with the ICDC soldiers are anxious for the Iraqis to begin to control the situation in Fallujah for themselves, Stoke explained.  The Iraqis aren't all green troops.  Many have past military experience.

"Some of the guys are military experienced - one guy's been in for 19 years," Stokes said. "They seem enthusiastic because they came here today and did everything we asked."

Savage explained the real challenge would be on the streets of Fallujah.

"We'll find out if they're up to it when we make contact with the enemy," Stokes added.  "It should be interesting."