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Chief Warrant Officer 3 Charles Major, infantry weapons officer of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 assists a shooter during range training with the Sisters of Ameriyah/Ferris June 4. The program trains women in Iraq to work alongside their male counterparts, the Iraqi Police, at entry control points through Anbar.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt

3/6 recruits ‘Sisters’ in Ameriyah, Ferris

5 Jun 2008 | Cpl. Chris Lyttle

The training program designed to strengthen Iraqi Security Forces and employ women in the fight against terrorist activity has expanded in Al Anbar province as several new recruits graduated and became the Sisters of Ameriyah-Ferris here on June 5.

Previous graduates of the Sisters of Fallujah program work at multiple entry control points into the city to disrupt insurgent efforts to use women to transport contraband into the city of Fallujah. The Sisters of Amariyah-Ferris is the first group trained outside of Fallujah within the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines’ area of operations.

The Sisters participated in classes held near the towns of Ameriyah and Ferris. 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines was augmented by the female search teams of Combat Logistics Battalion 1 who came out and taught the five-day training.

To thoroughly train the new Sisters to assist Iraqi Police, the Sisters studied topics such as police ethics, human rights, women’s issues, working in a terrorist environment, female searches and first aid. The Sisters also performed live-fire training with AK-47 rifles and 9mm pistols as a confidence booster. The final stage before graduation involved putting their newly learned skills to the test with on-the-job training at entry control points to Ferris Town.

“In contrast to Fallujah, which already has female search points, this will be a first for Ferris, meaning the women here are starting from scratch,” said 1st Lt. Kathryne Schilling, officer in charge of the training, who is overseeing her third class of Sisters with 3rd Bn., 6th Marines. The women were taught very basic skills since the idea of women providing security alongside all the male Iraqi Police is new to Ferris.

Schilling and the CLB-1 Marines also addressed the issue of women protecting themselves while performing a dangerous job such as this. Ferris is a small but dense city that is home to approximately 30,000 people, with only one way in and out. The Marines went over different tactics to deter the unique threats against them in Ferris.

One of the new graduates said the Iraqi Police of Ferris Town told her about this job opportunity. She said this is her first job and it is a new challenge that she is happy and brave enough to take on.

“I joined to help the Iraqi Police and to help my family,” she said. “I’m proud to get this job. I’m proud to help the Iraqi Police. I’m going to make the city safer. I can prevent illegal passengers in the city. I’m so proud, I’m so happy.”