HIT, Iraq --
Ensuring the people here are informed about things happening in Iraq is one of Army Staff Sgt. Jimmy Rodriguez’s missions. To accomplish it, he turns to Marines for help.
Marines with 1st Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 provided security for the Army Information Operations Team that is attached to the battalion while the team conducted a survey of the people here July 22.
“Our objective is to keep the task force informed on the local (Iraqis),” said Rodriguez, 25, a team leader with the IO Team, from Sacramento, Calif. “We were asking questions about the communications in the area and gauging the government’s ability to inform the people.”
The Marines, who know every nook and cranny in the city because of the amount of times they’ve patrolled Hit, led the soldiers to the market place so they could accomplish the mission.
“We understood the mission and we know the city, so we were able to take them through pretty easily,” said Cpl. Joshua A. Covert, 27, a squad leader with 1st Platoon from Farmington, N.M.
The mission began with the soldiers dropping off the Prairie newspapers, a newspaper that focuses on Anbar province, at a local store. After the quick stop, the patrol made their way to the busy marketplace.
At the marketplace, the soldiers gathered volunteers to fill out the survey. The survey was made up of questions on how well the government is keeping the local populace informed on current events.
“We got a lot of people to answer the questionnaires,” Rodriguez said. “We were satisfied with the information we collected.”
As the crowd died down, the patrol continued to its next destination. Without warning, two gunshots rang out. Marines dropped down, sought cover, got dispersion and began to assess the situation.
After scanning the area and seeing the people’s reaction on the street, Covert decided it was safe to continue the mission.
“Judging by the people’s reaction, we could see if the shots were hostile or not,” Covert said. “People continued what they were doing when the shots were fired. Kids were still playing in the streets, so we figured it wasn’t hostile.”
Despite the false alarm, Covert was impressed with how his squad performed during the situation.
“The way they reacted tells me I have good team leaders, and the junior Marines who are on their first deployment are taking it seriously,” Covert said. “They have a good balance of discipline and initiative.”
Covert wasn’t the only one giving the Marines praise.
“This is the best unit I’ve worked with,” Rodriguez said. “They’re very professional, they’re good at their job and they’re helpful whenever we need anything.”
The soldiers were able to get what they needed with the assistance of the Marines.
“The patrol went well. The objective was completed,” Rodriguez said. “The people were helpful and we got what we wanted to get done.”