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Lance Cpl. Christopher A. Ramirez, 22, a rifleman with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, from Los Angeles, talks into his radio during a security patrol through Haditha, Iraq, May 13. Marines with Company K patrolled through the city with an Iraqi policeman integrated into the patrol. Marines have been doing everything they can to assist Iraqi Police in improving their skills.

Photo by Cpl. Erik Villagran

3/4 continues Haditha ops

12 May 2008 | Cpl. Erik Villagran

Marines continue to patrol here in an effort to keep the streets safe and to assist the Iraqi police.

Marines with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, conducted a security patrol through the city to show the locals that Marines are still active in keeping the city secure.

“We go on patrols to show that we’re still a presence in the city,” said Cpl. James W. Blacker, 23, a team leader with Company K from San Diego, Calif. “The patrols show the people that we’re here to help, and it also keeps insurgents from setting up (improvised explosive devices).”

Marines zigzagged through the city ensuring, no suspicious activities were happening. Along the way, they greeted and tossed candy to kids who would approach the patrol.

An IP officer also joined the Marines in patrolling the city. Marines are used to Iraqi policemen with them and were pleased to get a policeman to join them. The IP has been patrolling with Marines in the city to prepare themselves for the Marines’ eventual departure.

“We take (Iraqi policemen) with us to teach them how to patrol correctly,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher A. Ramirez, 22, a rifleman with Company K from Los Angeles. “We want them to get familiar with patrolling so they can get efficient and train themselves.”

Marines try to integrate Iraqi policemen in their patrols as frequently as possible to give them more experience. It also allows the Marines the opportunity to correct IP mistakes during patrols, and Marines have noticed improvements in the policemen’s abilities.

“When we got here, they didn’t know how to patrol,” Ramirez said. “They’re still a little rough around the edges with their technique, but they’re better than before."

The policeman attached to the patrol performed to the Marines expectations. They said he did well, but that was expected because he was one of the more senior policemen.

“The patrol went smoothly,” Ramirez said. “Our communication went down, and we had to resort to secondary communications, but other than that , we did everything we were supposed to.”

As policemen continue to progress in their abilities, more kids are getting interested in becoming policemen.

“A couple of kids have come up and asked how old they have to be to become (a policeman),” Ramirez said. “They also ask about the process of becoming a (policeman).

With the IP getting better by the day and kids being attracted to the job, the future is looking bright in Haditha.