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Lance Cpl. Joseph T. Delorefice, 19, from Lancaster Penn., who is a motor transport operator and civil affairs representative with Civil Affairs Team 1, Detachment 1, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, scans the eyes of an Iraqi who is trying to get an identification badge at the Civil Military Operations Center, Haditha, Iraq, May 6. The badges are part of a system that will track if anyone has a history of anti-Coalition forces activity.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

One stop shop: CMOC handles needs for Haditha residents

5 May 2008 | Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

A crowd of about 300 Iraqis gathered at the Civil Military Operation Center and waited to pass through the security checkpoint here May 7.

Members of Civil Affairs Team 1, Detachment 1, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, were busy inside processing claims for property damage, issuing identification badges and addressing other needs of the people of Haditha.

The CMOC is one of the only places the citizens can come if they have a problem that deals with the military or the government.

“We act as a liaison between the military and the people to help them with any problems we can,” said Cpl. David V. Dearing, 21, from Richland, Wash., who is the projects manager for CA Team 1.

Processing claims is one of the many tasks handled by CA Team 1 at the CMOC.

“One of the main responsibilities we have is issuing identification badges and vehicle stickers,” said Cpl. Austin J. Carter, 23, from Houston Texas, who is a convoy commander and security chief with CA Team 1. “We also issue weapons cards to government employees.”

By obtaining an identification card, the Iraqis are able to move around more freely without suspicion of insurgent activity.  This also makes it harder for insurgents to move among the people.

“Whenever their name is entered into the system, if they show up as an alert for being involved in anti-Coalition forces activity, we can detain them,” said Carter.

The Iraqis are also able to register their vehicle with the card and obtain a sticker that corresponds with the card .

“Once their vehicles are cleared through the Vehicle Control Point, we check their ID and match up their sticker number,” said Cpl. John R. Reyes, 20, from Valley Springs Calif., who is a motor transport mechanic, maintenance chief and convoy commander with CA Team 1.

The stickers are placed on the windshield of the vehicles so they can be easily seen by Coalition forces.

“When we are passing cars, I look for the sticker because if they have one, it tells us they are enrolled in the system and are not likely insurgents,” said Reyes.

Military projects designed to help rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure are also handled out of the CMOC.

“What we do is take scopes of the work that needs to be done and hand them out to local contractors,” said Dearing. “Then, the contractors will bring in estimates, submit a package and we choose the contractor.”

Helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure is important because when Coalition forces eventually leave, they will have given the Iraqis the opportunity for a better life.