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Lance Cpl. Brandon M. Barnes, 21, a team leader with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, from Fairbanks, Ala., patrols through the city of Hit, Iraq, April 9 with an Iraqi policeman trailing him. Marines with I Company conducted the security patrol with the Iraqi policemen. Despite the language barrier, the Marines and policemen were able to work together.

Photo by Cpl. Erik Villagran

Marines, IPs work together

9 Apr 2008 | Cpl Erik Villagran

Marines know it's important to get Iraqi forces involved in stopping insurgent activity. Recently, they showed that knowledge by getting Iraqi policemen involved in their patrol.

Marines with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, recently conducted a patrol through Hit, Iraq, and along the way picked up assistance from the Iraqi Police.

"We were doing a security patrol," said Lance Cpl. Ray E. Alvarado, 21, a rifleman with I Co. from Anaheim, Calif. "We hooked up with the IP to integrate them into our squad so they could do their part in keeping Hit safe."

Marines arrived at the IP station here and arranged for four policemen to join them as part of their patrol through the city. Within minutes, Iraqi policemen were ready to join them.

"They seemed pretty excited," said Lance Cpl. Austin L. Barnhill, 23, a rifleman with I Co., from Riverside, Calif. "None of them were disappointed or had a bad attitude about going out with us."

The Iraqi policemen impressed Marines in the squad during the patrol. They took it very seriously and performed well, Barnhill said.

"They were very cooperative," Alvarado said. "Because of the language barrier, and us not having an interpreter, we couldn't direct them as well as we liked, but it looked like they knew what they were doing."

As the patrol ended, Marines were invited to stay and interact with the policemen before they carried on with the rest of their patrol. They obliged and spent around 30 minutes attempting to communicate with the policemen through broken English. They spent the better part of the half hour showing policemen their gear or joking with them, and also took photos with some of the policemen.

Marines know that patrols with the Iraqi Security Forces not only helps build trust between them but shows the people of Hit that Marines are attempting to work with the local security.

"I think patrols like this make it easier on us because the locals see that we want to work with the local police," Barnhill said. "They see we’re not doing our own thing, but that it's a group effort to maintain security."

The Marines said they were satisfied with how the patrol turned out and how willing the policemen were to participate in their patrol, and that they were so pleased with the patrol that they agreed to return to the police station again to conduct more integrated patrols.

"The patrol was very smooth," Barnhill said. "We didn't run into any problems. There was a language barrier, but we managed to get through that and have a good patrol."