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A bulldozer pushes up dirt to create a berm Aug. 13 along the Iraq and Syrian border. Approximately 30,000 yards of berm were created during an almost two-week-long mission. Marines with Support Platoon, Company A, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 surveyed the entire border, filling in gaps on the berm in order to prevent people from crossing the border illegally.

Photo by Cpl. Shawn Coolman

Iraq-Syrian border berm complete

23 Aug 2008 | Cpl. Shawn Coolman 1st Marine Division

A new berm project, which stretches along the entire Iraq and Syrian border, was completed by Support Platoon, Company A, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 Aug. 23.

Marines surveyed approximately 160,000 yards of ground and searched for gaps in the berm, which serves as a barrier, and added roughly 30,000 yards of berm to the border. It took Support Platoon almost two weeks to complete the project.

“There was a gap along the Iraq and Syrian border, and we pushed up (dirt) to connect the northern and southern edges of the berm,” said Lance Cpl. Adrian Cruz, 23, a motor transportation mechanic with Support Platoon, from Galveston, Texas.

“We were out there pushing up (dirt) to create obstacles for (people crossing the border illegally),” said Cruz.

The improved berm will not only benefit Coalition forces, but also Iraqi forces as well.

“This mission was important because now we can control the flow of people coming in and out of the country,” said Sgt. Jay S. Calles, 23, logistics vehicle systems operator with Support Platoon, from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. “(The berm) allows the border to be better controlled, making it better for all the citizens of Iraq.”

“It’s not just going to help us, but it’s going to help the Iraqi government, Iraqi Army and police,” said Lance Cpl. James F. Wollman, 22, an electrician with Support Platoon, from Mahopac, N.Y. “It will let them do a lot more without them having to worry about foreign fighters coming across the border.”

Improvements to the infrastructure of Iraq may equate to a brighter outlook for the future of Iraq’s people and government.

“It’s a good thing because we’re helping out everyone in the big picture of things,” said Cruz. “It’s a good success story for the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people.”

“I think the mission was a success; their will be a lot accomplished in the near future because of our efforts,” said Wollman.

1st Marine Division