HIT, Iraq --
Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 are getting familiar with the local populace in their area of operations.
Marines conducted a census patrol here July 20 in order to familiarize themselves with the city.
“We were going through the town to find out where stores are located, who the owners are and what they sell,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew B. Nelson, 22, a rifleman with Lima Co. from Renton, Wash. “We wanted to get an idea of how the town makes money and supports it self.”
The Marines performed a mounted patrol to the business areas of the city and then dismounted. The patrol was scheduled at peak business hours to ensure Marines spoke with as many people as possible. At every stop, Marines set up security while others went from store to store to collect the information they were looking for.
“The questions tie into figuring out how their government is doing,” Nelson said. “We ask what the problems in the city are, and if something is wrong, we can take a closer look at the situation.”
The names of the owners and the grid locations of their shops were jotted down for future reference. Photographs of the owners of the shops were taken as well.
As Marines made their way through the businesses, they also found time to joke around with the kids in the area. Marines handed out candy and water to the children.
“The kids like Americans,” said Lance Cpl. Devon P. Sanderfield, 20, a rifleman with Lima Co. from Springfield, Ill. “They’ve grown up with Marines around most of their lives; they’re comfortable with us.”
The Marines were well received in the city, and their efforts allowed them to get better acquainted with the city and the people who live there.
“The only setback we had were the stores that were closed,” Nelson said. “Other than that, the patrol went well and we were able to get a lot of good information from the stores there.”