A Marine walks side-by-side with an Iraqi policeman on a partnered patrol near Ramadi, Iraq, Nov. 6. Marines live on the same forward operating base as a unit of Iraqi police, working and interacting with them on a daily basis.
RAMADI, Iraq (Nov. 13, 2008) — Currently on the battalion’s first deployment to Iraq, Marines of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, have found themselves living and working among Iraqi police daily on a forward operating base just outside Ramadi, Iraq.
Although some of the Marines have deployed before, they had not worked this closely with Iraqi police and knew their mission would be difficult.
But since arriving to Iraq in early October, the Marines have already established a good working relationship with the IPs.
“Living with the IPs communicates a shared burden really,” said Capt. Brian J. O’Shea, the Company E Commanding Officer. “Anyone with a shared common experience can develop a relationship faster.”
Cultural and language differences have been an obstacle for both Marines and IPs, but the progression has become evident only several weeks into the Marines’ deployment.
“It was hard at first trying to instruct the IPs on the proper procedures of guard duty and when going out on missions, mainly because of the language barrier,” said Lance Cpl. Jason Strothmann, a 22-year-old radio operator from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with Company E.
“There’s a little bit of a language barrier, but we find ways around it and have fun,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua P. Allen, a 21-year-old rifleman from Saugus, Mass., with Company E, 2nd Bn., 9th Marines.
Living on the same FOB has not only given the Marines the chance to work with the IPs, it has also afforded them the opportunity to gather first-hand knowledge about the Iraqi culture.
“We’ve definitely leveraged living on the same FOB to improve our training in Iraqi culture,” said O’Shea.
The Marines and IPs stand post in the FOB’s guard towers and patrol city streets daily, allowing the community to see the two forces working together.
“[Working together] sends a great message to the Iraqi police and the Iraqi people, demonstrating the level of trust and partnership we have,” said O’Shea. “It‘s not just a developing relationship, it is a long lasting relationship.”
Now that the Marines and IPs have established themselves amongst one another, they can go about the rest of the deployment with the confidence and trust they will need to continue securing the streets of Ramadi.