FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq (April 16, 2008) — An Iraqi police-led operation in An Numaniyah sent a message to criminals in the city — Iraqi security forces are in control.
More than 300 IP, Iraqi army and coalition forces deployed to An Numaniyah to conduct checkpoint operations in a joint effort April 7. Dubbed Operation Crystal Springs, the mission also provided ISF and coalition leadership the opportunity to engage with local government officials and sheikhs.
“It was an operation that was planned by the Iraqi Police, supported by the Iraqi Army and the coalition forces,” said Capt. Eric Wigley, commander of the 511th Military Police Company. “The mission was designed as a non-kinetic mission to go out to Numaniyah … to set up and conduct numerous checkpoints and just to let the people know that the Iraqi Police, the Iraqi Army and the coalition forces can plan and operate together.”
Sgt. Shane McAllister, a team leader with the 511th MP Co., said the mission showed the local populace that ISF are in control of the area and enforcing the rule of law.
An Numaniyah has had little Coalition presence in the past. The Wasit Police Chief, Maj. Gen. Abid al Hanneen Faysal Ameer, and the 8th Iraqi Army Division commander identified the city as a security priority, said Wigley.
“They wanted to show the people that they are committed to the city, they are committed to their populace and they can, when they want, mass forces to help secure the population,” Wigley said.
The forces established four checkpoints strategically placed in and around the city to interact with residents, search vehicles for contraband and distribute humanitarian assistance.
At one checkpoint, the ISF, along with Soldiers from 511th MP Co., from Fort Drum, N.Y., searched more than 200 vehicles. The U.S. forces were there in an advisory role, said 1st Lt. Lynnette Jefferson, a platoon leader with 511th MP Co.
“Our Soldiers knew what was expected of them,” she said. “They understood that the checkpoints were an IP responsibility.”
Jefferson said the MPs have trained with the IPs on conducting vehicle and personnel searches, conducting joint patrols and reacting to improvised explosive devices, small arms fire and precision gun fire.