Strykers Soldiers Work, Baghdad Streets Safer
By Pfc. William Hatton
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Soldiers walked the streets of a northern Baghdad neighborhood in an effort to provide enhanced safety and security and strengthen the relationship with local residents Feb. 15.
“We’re basically out here doing a courtesy search,” said Staff Sgt. Trevor Warrior, a squad leader with Company A, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
“We’re searching to see if each resident has the appropriate amounts of weapons in the house, but at the same time just let them know we are here in the neighborhood trying to protect them.”
Warrior’s Squad went from house to house down numerous blocks, searching and meeting with Iraqi citizens to make the neighborhood safer.
The basic objective, Warrior said, is looking for bad guys. “We make sure that everyone has no more than one AK47 (assault rifle) in the house,” said Warrior, a native of Alberta, Canada.
“The law in Baghdad states that people are allowed to have only one AK-47 in their house. We just make sure people are abiding by the rules.
“If we at least scare away the bad guys, then we’ve been successful,” Warrior added. “That’s all that really matters.”
“We’re doing more to establish a better U.S.-Iraqi relationship by going house to house and talking to people,” said Sgt. Chris Sherrill, a team leader with Warrior’s squad.
“Most people are happy that we’re here,” said Sherrill, a native of Charlotte, N.C. “They know that we’re impartial to whether they are Sunni, Shiite, or Kurdish.”
Despite the early acceptance shown by local residents, Sherrill knows the mission will take time to accomplish. “In order for things to get better here, it’s going to take a little bit of time, and willingness for Iraqis to step up and take charge of their country,” Sherrill said.
“I feel that it is possible, and that great improvements have been made towards Iraq becoming more independent, it’s just going to take time. It’s a long road, and there’s no other way to say it, really.”
Though no weapons were found and no insurgent suspects were detained on the mission, Warrior still considered it a success, he said, by simply having a presence on the streets and strengthening relationships with the Iraqi people.
Sgt. Chris Sherrill, a Charlotte, N.C., native and team leader with Company A, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, plays with children outside a house while his squad searches inside during a security operation in a northern Baghdad neighborhood Feb. 15.
(Have ever noticed how happy the Iraqi children seem to be when they are around our Warriors?)