DIWANIYA, Iraq (Dec. 22, 2008) – Coalition forces conducted status checks on highway checkpoints controlled by the Sons of Iraq during a patrol Dec. 15.
Soldiers from Company D, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division conducted the patrol and found citizens working diligently to maintain the safety of their city.
“I have midday duty. I watch the highways and search the areas (around my checkpoint). Sometimes, (the Iraqi police) call on me to help search cars,” said Calvin, a member of the SoI.
The SoI program works with the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army to make the provinces safe for their citizens. The combined effort of these organizations has been a major contributor to the improved security of Iraq.
“I think the ISF has progressed a lot. They are making a tremendous difference here. You can see it when you speak with the people,” said Capt. Adam Clements, Co. D commander.
“With the SoI, it shows the (people) have taken more ownership of their lands, and that’s good. We will continue to support them as they work to make it better here,” added Clements.
Calvin is a part of a three-man team working from one of the numerous checkpoints in the city. The SoI monitor the highways tirelessly for their local leaders, working non-stop shifts at checkpoints that sometimes provide very little protection from the weather.
“The SoI are controlled and paid by the local sheikhs. Right now, the U.S. forces are facilitating the money for the SoI, but soon that responsibility will be shift to the Government of Iraq,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Henning, Co. D, 2-8Inf. Regt. executive officer.
“I am happy doing this,” said Calvin. “Before, I was sitting at home without a job; now, I’m working. This (life) is better than just doing nothing.”
Even though Calvin is content with his current lifestyle, he confessed he does have a future career aspiration.
“My dream is to become a Soldier in the Iraqi Army,” he said.