April 29, 2008 —
First Lt. Michael Nolan inspects the nearly complete SoI checkpoint in the Fuhail Mujeer Village less than two hours after the project began April 25. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback)
PATROL BASE YATES (April 29, 2008) — As part of their commitment to keeping insurgents away, members of the Sons of Iraq built a checkpoint on a narrow stretch of road through Fuhail Mujeer Village, 25 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, April 25.
As recently as December, Rakkasan Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), established a presence in the area, which was previously an insurgent safe haven.
Now Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, assigned to their battalion’s Company D, are living at the newly built Patrol Base Yates and working with the SoI to maintain security in the area.
The first of eight SoI checkpoints was constructed in mid-March approximately 400 meters north of the site where a Rakkasan Soldier was wounded by an improvised explosive device. Working their way toward the patrol base, checkpoints have been placed in strategic locations along the road to deter insurgent activity.
Increasing the SoI’s ability to maintain the security on the road benefits both the Soldiers and the village, said 1st Lt. Michael Nolan, from San Antonio, platoon leader for 2nd Platoon.
With the SoI working to maintain security, there is less need for Coalition Soldiers to patrol the area, keeping the Soldiers safer and the road less congested for traffic. It also brings peace of mind to the Soldiers when they do patrol the village.
“When we first went out there, there weren’t any SoI checkpoints,” Nolan said. “It was a little nerve-wracking … Now that we have SoI checkpoints nearly 500 meters apart, with clear lines of sight between them, we know it will hinder insurgents’ abilities to plant (IEDs).”
With the SoI improving their hold on security in the village, Nolan is able to increase his platoon’s reach and presence in the area while reducing the enemy’s capabilities.
“Having a presence in (the area) and having SoI checkpoints on the road through the Fuhail Mujeer Village shows we’re taking the area back from the insurgents, pushing them further and further out and giving them no safe havens,” he said.