April 22, 2009

266th MP Company makes a difference in Iraq

By Staff Sgt. Dennis Gomez
266th Military Police Company

BASRA, Iraq — Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Manassas-based 266th Military Police Company are going above and beyond their Police Transition Team training mission in Basra, Iraq and working to make a difference in the quality of life for the police officers they train and the local community.

 

1st Lt. John Hinton of Newport News, Va., talks with students from the Iman Abbas School in Basra, Iraq, on April 13, 2009. (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Andre McIntyre.) Click HERE to download a high resolution photo.

The 266th MP Co. deployed to Iraq from Fort Dix, N.J. in early December, 2008 with approximately 150 Soldiers. Training was conducted at Camp Buehring, Kuwait until the company flew to Contingency Operating Base Basra, Camp Charlie to conduct Police Transition Team operations in the northern section of the city of Basra.

The primary duties of all Police Transition Teams are to coach, train and mentor the Iraqi Police and complete the Police Stations Monthly Reports. In late January 2009, the 266th conducted its first PTT mission.

In early February, the company joined its Iraqi Police partners from the Al-Maqil district in Basra on a humanitarian mission to a local school. After meeting with the school officials and discussing the needs of the school, the Iraqi Police and Soldiers from the 266th were able to deliver back packs and other school supplies to the children. 

 

Sgt. Ernest Spycher of Reston, Va., assists one of the Al Hartha Iraqi police with construction of a rooftop. Members of the 266th assisted Al Hartha police officers by demolishing and repairing a roof which enclosed a sleeping quarters for five Iraqi police. (Courtesy of 266th Military Police Company) Click HERE to download a high resolution photo.

“The future of Basra is with the children, they will be here long after we are gone,” said Capt. Ryan Mallory from Manassas, Va. “The children are most affected during this transition for Iraq, we must all work together for the good of the cause.”

Members of the 266th also assisted Al Hartha police officers by demolishing and repairing a roof which enclosed a sleeping quarters for five Iraqi police. Staff Sgt. Brian Brower, PTT chief, saw a need and was able to gather skilled Soldiers within the platoon to repair an inadequately constructed roof. 

After a few hours, with the assistance of the IPs, the project was completed.

“It felt great to help them with this project,” said Sgt. Ernest Spycher of Reston, Va. “So much of our time is spent training, it was good to do something that improves the quality of life for the IPs as well.”

 

Staff Sgt. Michelle Smith of Henrico, Va., watches to make sure that the training being taught is well received after every demonstration. Members of the 266th assisted Al Hartha police officers by conducting weapons training and movement techniques.(Courtesy of 266th Military Police Company). Click HERE to download a high resolution photo.

Capt. Lefta of the IP was so impressed and grateful that he brought out his office desk, which was also in need of repairs.

Members of the 266th have also assisted Al Hartha police officers by conducting weapons training and touched on movement techniques. PTT chiefs Sgt. 1st Class David Hunt and Staff Sgt. Michelle Smith met at 3rd ERB to conduct training for 20 IPs on weapon safety and handling techniques.

“They where eager to learn and stayed focus during the training,” said Smith, from Henrico, Va.

“PTT is something more then just training,” said Hunt, a resident of Richmond, Va. “It’s a friendship and respect for the fellow man.”

The IPs were highly motivated and enjoyed the training that was conducted. In addition, bonds were made and respect between both cultures was laid. 

 
Capt. Ryan Mallory from Manassas, Va., commander of the 266th MP Company, expresses his commitment to the school house in the Al-Maqil district. (Courtesy of 266th Military Police Company) Click HERE to download a high resolution photo.

Members of 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, began their PTT mission in early February. The squad is responsible for Basra city’s 4th ERB, consisting of over 600 Iraqi police with varying levels of education, training, and police experience.

“We are here to help the Iraqi Police and the families of Basra,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Stuhr from Manassas, Va. Squad patrols focuses on identifying the needs of 4th ERB checkpoints as well as the living conditions. Community policing is a vital key to winning the hearts and minds of the local population.

In mid April, 1st Platoon, 2nd Squad, joined members of the Al Maqil Iraqi Police District Headquarters on a joint visit to the Imam Abbas school in the Al Maqil district of Basra in order to strengthen community relations and to enhance the public’s perception of the Iraqi Police.

Lt. Col. Sabah, station commander of the Al Maqil local police station, as well as other Iraqi Police, was very enthusiastic about the school visit.

“I am very concerned about improving the community as a whole,” Sabah said.   

 

Sgt. 1st Class David Hunt from Richmond, Va., shows the Iraqi police that a good site picture must be used in order to engage a target effectively. (Courtesy of 266th Military Police Company) Click HERE to download a high resolution photo.

This is the third school visited by the team and the Iraqi Police. Each visit strengthens the bond between the community and the Iraqi Police forces. During the visit, the school received 25 school desks, along with other school supplies, which the Iraqi Police and several students quickly assembled.

The students were very eager to meet both the Iraqi Police and the members of the U.S. Military Police Transition Team. Many of the students asked to take pictures with their guests. 1st Lt. John Hinton, assistant PTT chief, told the children he was glad he was able to help and would be back soon. 

The school administration expressed their gratitude to both the Iraqi Police and members of the 266th Military Police Company.

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