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FALLUJAH, IRAQ Iraqi Police provide ice and water to Fallujah residents waiting to receive a badge during a remote badging operation here, June 25. Enduring the hot weather and crowded lines, IPs managed to maintain the order for approximately 700 residents who received new IDs, which are necessary to enter and exit the city. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Chris Lyttle) (RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Chris Lyttle

Fallujah badges key to the city

25 Jun 2008 | Cpl. Chris Lyttle

FALLUJAH, Iraq (June 25, 2008) – Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 and Iraqi Police (IP) in southwest Fallujah set up a remote identification badge operation June 23-25, providing badge issuing services to more than 700 outlying residents of the city.

Every resident of Fallujah is issued an identification badge to allow them access into the city and to identify themselves to Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces.

The idea of extending the ID services came after Marines noticed many outdated badges during patrols, said 2nd Lt. John Gabriel Sanchez, platoon commander, 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.

“On patrols, there was a trend that my squad leaders kept noticing,” Sanchez said. “They said (there were) a lot of expired badges and every time they go to a house, the badges are either close to or already expired. We got that word up to the (commanding officer), and he said, ‘You know what, we’ll have a badge drive. We’ll broadcast it and hold it for three days so we can get the majority of southern Fallujah.’”

Coalition Forces and IPs welcomed residents from all of Fallujah and not just the southwest portion of the city. With hundreds of local nationals coming to renew their badge, security forces made safety a priority. Although there have been no recent events in the city of Fallujah, the potential for insurgents to harm innocent people is still relevant.

As the people waited in line to exchange their expired IDs for new ones, IPs checked to ensure peoples badges needed to be replaced. To ease the wait, IPs delivered to them ice and water.

“Jumaa,” a 27-year-old enlisted IP of two years and a native of Fallujah, stayed on his feet from sunrise until sunset each day of the operation because he understands the importance of having a current ID badge.

Jumaa said it makes him feel safer on a foot patrol when he approaches people who have valid identification. He said it helps identify whether or not the person is a local and whether or not they have a legitimate reason to be in the district he protects.

Sanchez said the IPs did a great job of providing security while the Marines stood ready to lend them a helping hand, making the operation incident free an a huge success.

“The majority, if not all of the security, is with the IPs,” Sanchez said during the operation. “The Marines are providing overwatch. If they happen to spot something going on, then they’ll let the IPs take care of it. The IPs have a lot more involvement in the security … actually more than I anticipated.”