Marines with Lima Co, 3rd Bn, 4th Marine Regt, prepare Christmas dinner at an COP in Now Zad, Dec. 25. The Marines made the most of this holiday season, generating their own holiday cheer away from loved ones.
Lance Cpl. Benjamin Knight, a rifleman, carries water back to his living area.
Lance Cpl. Cody Collis, a rifleman, does his laundry. Collis added detergent and water to an oil drum to wash his clothing, and innovated a spin-cycle by rolling the drum repeatedly.
An Afghan child is treated for a blister on his backside by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jimmy Diaz, a corpsman with Lima Co.
Marines prepare Christmas dinner.
Capt. Andrew Terrell, comm. officer of Lima Co., talks to his Marines.
Christmas was just another day on the job for Lance Cpl. Andrew Klaasen, 25, a rifleman. Klassen spent his Christmas alongside his comm. officer, Capt. Andrew Terrell, visiting several COPs throughout Now Zad, Dec. 25.
The Iraqi officers, representing three distinguished organizations, earned Army certificates and kudos from the 591st Military Police Company, 151st Military Police Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade instructors and the 49th's commander, Brig. Gen. Donald Currier. The officers completed a series of training scenarios that included classroom and field work in evidence collection.
"We focused on crime scene processing,” said Staff Sgt. Ismael Leon, a class instructor. “We gave them scenarios and tools and let them do their thing." The first day set the tone for this unique training. The Iraqi participants engaged in a question-and-answer session with a prestigious Iraqi judge, who provided invaluable suggestions on what adjudicators like to see in criminal cases.
"That was really impressive; that doesn't happen a lot when a judge speaks to detectives," said Capt. Violeta Sifuentes, 591st co cmdr. "There was really good back-and-forth communication. The judge talked about forensics and crime scenes, things that are important to a case, things judges like to see. The goal is to have them become proficient in the collection of evidence," Sifuentes said. "Properly collecting and handling evidence can lead to the conviction of suspects in a criminal case."
"Things like getting fingerprints, that's a big thing as far as evidence," added Leon. "Fingerprints make it easier to solve cases. It's really important in getting cases solved." Leon showed the students how to properly "book" suspects, including how to get suspects to place their fingerprints onto sheets of paper. "It looked easy at first, but then when they tried it, they found it wasn't as easy as it seems," said Leon.
"What we wanted the most was to get them to understand they have to work as a team," added Sifuentes. "They also have to learn there're different techniques of collecting evidence. There's also officer safety that they need to keep in mind."
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Paul Ijames, project engr for the Mazraa School and several other schools in Anbar providence, has been overseeing a variety of essential service projects in Iraq over the past 18 months. “I’ve been involved with many things, but school projects like this are right at the top of the list, since they provide many children access to an education they would otherwise not have been able to get,” said Ijames. “We’re making a difference in people’s lives.”
According to Ijames, one of reasons this project was so exceptional was due to the pride the Iraqi workers continued to display throughout the construction of the school. “It’s their children, nephews and nieces, and other kids residing in that neighborhood who will be going to school there,” he said. “They now have a good environment in which they can learn.”
The new 6-classroom school, which replaces an old 2-room house, will accommodate up to 300 students and teachers. The school complex also includes administrative offices, a playground, guard house, backup generator, a security wall around the entire school property, and a supply of necessary school furnishings.
Local leaders, residents as well as the children are excited about the completion of the new school. Hamed, a 7-year-old boy, and his friend, who both will be students at the new school, stood at the entrance and said with a big smile, “This will be my school; thank you for giving me a new school.”
“You can see it in the smiles of the local residents who are diligently working every day to provide a brighter future for their children and grandchildren,” Ijames said. “They know that the key to success is hard work and education. Just like in the U.S., their schools are the heart of their community – a place for hope.”