Cavalry scout Sgt. Elliot Edmunds, B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, directs an Iraqi policeman which direction to cover during an operation south of Tal ‘Afar, Iraq, July 13. Edmunds unit has been deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom for over 12 months now. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Bradley J. Clark, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2007
By Pfc. Bradley J. Clark
4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq— Troops from Multi-National Division-North conducted a series of cordon and knock engagements July 12 through July 14 with the help of Iraqi security forces in the area between Bi’aj and Tal ‘Afar.
Soldiers from the Blackfoot Troop of 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment went into five villages over the three-day operation to interact with the locals and introduce the ISF to the townspeople.
“We do these missions to check on the locals,” said Sgt. Matthew Kravulski, intelligence liaison for Blackfoot Troop. “We get the town demographics, what the religious make up is, and what kind of support they need from the ISF.”
The troops brought along members from the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police for many reasons that are intended to ultimately benefit the local people in the area.
“People don’t really hear about us and this area,” said Spc. Lonnie Sykes, a cavalry scout from Las Vegas. “This is a really big area and when it’s just us trying to help everyone, that’s when problems arise and things don’t get accomplished.”
Another cavalry scout, Sgt. Elliot Edmunds, agreed with Sykes about the difficultly and added, “We can’t support the entire area.”
These Soldiers have seen problems arise in the past when areas get neglected by ISF, but now they can start to see the solution working.
“The Iraqi people don’t yet have complete confidence in areas like their security and healthcare,” said Sgt. Paul Loos, squadron senior line medic. “But those areas are moving towards improvement. The IP are trying and our presence has changed the IA. They are doing a lot more now, so when we go out, we find less and less.”
With the Iraqi security forces advancing in their training, they will soon be able to step up to the challenge and be the glue that helps keep Iraq together.
“We have seen less crime and better living conditions in cities like Sinjar, Tal Afar, and Bi’aj,” said Sykes.
Kravulski agreed with Sykes but added, “There have been a lot of improvements, but there are still many things that need improvement; like better security, so when we do fix up places, they stay in good condition instead of being destroyed days later.”
The results of the three-day operation can show evidence that the level of security has improved. Of the five towns involved in the operation, there were only two people detained for questioning. Those two were only detained because of a search revealing an excess number of weapons found in their possession.
“We do these village engagements pretty often,” said Loos. “And this one wasn’t bad at all. We can see the civilians are helping out a lot.”
Edmunds agreed with his fellow sergeant and added that if they don’t find a lot of insurgents or weapons, it means the Iraqis are doing their part to keep their communities safe.
The operation gave Coalition Forces an opportunity to see that the ISF can establish good working relationships with the occupants of different villages and tribes. It also gave them a chance to see the Iraqis’ abilities to identify things the villagers need for a better quality of life.Squadron senior line medic, Sgt. Paul “Doc” Loos, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, applies a bandage to an Iraqi as 1st Sgt. James Taylor, B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, looks on during an operation south of Tal ‘Afar, Iraq, July 14. Loos, a Moreno Valley, Calif., native, is on his second tour of duty in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Bradley J. Clark, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)Cavalry scout, Spc. Lonnie Sykes, B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, shakes hands with local villagers as Sgt. Elliot Edmunds, cavalry scout, B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment looks on July 13 south of Tal ‘Afar, Iraq. Sykes is a Las Vegas native, who has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for over a year. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Bradley J. Clark, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)
Labels: 3-4 Cavalry, FOB Marez, Good News, Iraq, photos, Tal Afar, US Army