Monday, August 13, 2007

Health and welfare, a mission to protect from the inside out

2nd Lt. Liz Lopez
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) PAO
Multi-National Division – Center

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq — Ensuring the health and welfare of Soldiers and civilians living on Camp Striker, Iraq is necessary to keep everyone safe.
Soldiers of the Force Protection Platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum N.Y., ensure the security of all of the inhabitants living on the camp, which requires potential dangers originating from both outside and inside the compound’s perimeter.
On July 31, Soldiers from the platoon, in conjunction with military police, inspect the living areas of approximately 80 local national interpreters who reside on Camp Striker to make sure they did not have and illegal items, or contraband, in theatre.
Throughout the operation, the Soldiers maintained their military bearing and were at all times professional while working with the interpreters.
“These men and women are not the enemy,” explained the FPP leader. “This mission is simply to ensure their compliance with military standards.”
The standards were put in place to ensure the security of both the interpreters and the Soldiers they assist. The platoon understood this and was excited to participate in what they saw as a vital part of their mission.
“It’s a good mission,” said Spc. Jason Schulte, a native of Jefferson, Mo., who serves with the FPP. “Every camp needs its own security both inside and out.”
During the inspection, the platoon teamed up with military police in order to facilitate a proper inspection.
“Working as a team together is a good idea - it helps us and it backs us up,” said Spc. Sarah Clements, a native of Mobile, Ala.
The cooperative effort did more than assist the platoon with inspections. The military police also brought out working dogs to help them conduct a more thorough check of the area for contraband the Soldiers might overlook.
Although their everyday tasks conducting force protection are anything but routine, the Soldiers viewed the inspection as a positive change of pace from their typical duties.
“This will be more action,” explained Clements.
She was not to be disappointed. In the process of inspecting the living area, they found several prohibited items ranging from knives to digital storage devices.
After the inspection, the platoon returned to their other duties patrolling the camp and manning guard positions.
Their vigilance to the security situation on Camp Striker allows all of its inhabitants to feel just a little bit safer, but the platoon is not looking for recognition.
“We’re just keeping our camp safe,” said one member of the platoon. “That’s the right thing to do.”
Right or not, it is a grueling task, and one that can be easily overlooked. But, the platoon seems pleased to have the responsibility of safeguarding the maneuver units which patrol the roads outside the walls in order to protect them.

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