Gradual Increased Level Maintained By Joint Forces
The fight against terrorists and Al Qaeda in Iraq has begun to stabilize with a greatly improved level of security. Part of the reason for the success is the efforts to put Coalition soldiers eating and sleeping with Iraqi soldiers on the front lines. This effort has broken down a lot of the barriers, and led to a slow trust on the part of not just the Iraqi soldiers, but on the part of Iraqi Citizens also.
Troops from the 8th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion work and live at Combat Outpost Knight, right in the middle of things in Eastern Mosul. Being around the Iraqi troops, and being accessible to the Iraqi troops and Iraqi citizens has helped relations between all the parties improve, and it has led to increased trust.
“This puts us right in the middle of things, we talk to the people, and they feel relaxed enough to talk and share with us what is happening,” said 1st Lieutenant Larry Gwinn. Lt. Gwinn is platoon leader for Delta Company, 1-8 infantry regiment.
“It’s about letting the people see us as their friends, not their rulers, but just as people,” said Lt. Gwinn. “We talk to them and ask what we can do to help, asking about doctors, schools, or other things that are important to them,” said Lt. Gwinn.
“And because we are up close and personal now, they have begun to open up and share, and trust us more,” said Lt. Gwinn.
Soldiers with the Combat Outpost Knight stay there for four days. Then they are rotated back to Forward Operating Base Marez, and trade places with another group. This rotation schedule has been very effective at maximizing interaction, while still maintaining security and safety for everyone involved.