The Picture below and Article by Spc. Alexis Harrison
2-1 Cav. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq – In order for Soldiers and civilians on the base to sleep soundly, someone needs to stay up all hours of the night to make sure no one gets in who shouldn’t. In order to keep peace and safety in the International Zone, someone needs to control all the traffic.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9 Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, keep watch over the base and every single entry point into the IZ. They know it isn’t glamorous, but they know it’s as vital as any other mission the “Black Jack” Brigade performs.
At all hours of the day and night, someone is watching traffic and pedestrians from atop a guard tower. That someone is a trooper like Pfc. Estanislado Bella from Miami. Bella, who is a part of Troop A, 4-9 Cav., said that if he and his friends weren’t in the towers, there’s no telling what might happen.
“It’s one of those jobs that if it’s not done, somebody’s life could be at risk,” Bella said. “We see a lot from up here [in the tower]. It’s also a good opportunity to get to know your fellow Soldiers. It helps with the cohesiveness of the unit.”
Staying up all night isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish, but Spc. Yosef Spell from Philadelphia, also a part of Troop A, said working as a team can help you get through those cold Iraqi nights. “It’s a lot like a football team,” he said. “You have towork together to get things done.”
Spell recently helped out a friend in a big way. His friend is married to another Soldier in the 13th Sustainment Command out of Fort Hood, Texas. In order for the two to see each other on their mid-tour leave, Spell volunteered his slot, so his buddy could be with his wife.
“A lot of us are really close, but we work together no matter what,” Spell said.
Outside the base, on the outskirts of the IZ, there are Soldiers manning checkpoints at every possible entry route. These Soldiers don’t sit inside a guard tower and wait for something to happen. They get a hands-on view of every vehicle and person that comes inside the gates.
Soldiers from Troop B, 4-9 Cav., pay attention to the little details while doing their jobs. Some search people, some search cars and trucks, and some pull security while watching the ebb and flow of
Iraqis coming and going.
The several steps of security aren’t meant to frustrate incoming persons or impede traffic. The Soldiers from the “Blackhawk” Troop check, check and recheck for anything on the “bolo” list. Things that are on the “do not try to bring into the IZ” list.
Cpl. Karl Sweeting, a medic from Houston, is on his second tour to Iraq. He’s been busy manning the gates into the IZ. Although, he hasn’t had to perform many medical duties while working, he said he still feels a sense of accomplishment after every day at work.
Pfc. Nicholas Jefferson works alongside Sweeting at one of the northern checkpoints. The Van Buren, Ark., native said he’s not in the thick of things like a cavalry scout should be, but he knows what his mission is.
“I wish there was something more we could be doing,” he said. “But, I know that this is our mission, so we’re going to do the best we can to keep all the important people and people who want to make this
place better from getting hurt.”
This mom is grateful for all that the men and women are doing to preserve our freedoms and to combat the War on Terror. Ya’ll Rock!!!
I will post more on the following graphic very soon!