11th MEU, Coalition forces supply An Najaf police

25 Aug 2004 | Cpl. Matthew S. Richards 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's detachment of the 66th Military Police Company delivered more than 300 Small Arms Protective Inserts plates and flak jackets to Iraqi police headquarters in An Najaf, Iraq, recently.

The deliveries began six months ago as an effort to equip the Iraqi police in Najaf and continue now that the Special Operations Capable unit has operational control of the An Najaf and An Qadisiyah provinces. The MEU assumed this role July 31.

"We've been trying to train, equip and mentor the Iraqi police on how to run a police station," said Army Capt. Richard T. Cranford, commanding officer, 66th MP Co. "We've been sharing our subject matter expertise."

The most recent shipment will supply a new wave of Iraqis from tribes outside Najaf who want to help oust the Muqtada militia.

This extra tribal support has spiked in the last few days, according to Army Staff Sgt. William J. Trabucco, platoon sergeant, 66th MP Co.

"I've got some good guys from Karbala City who hate the militia," said Gen. Ghalib Hadi, commanding general, An Najaf Police Force. "This new force will help enforce security."

Hadi plans to supply these new additions to the Iraqi police with everything they need to fight the militia.

"They are trained well and I'm going to give these volunteers good weapons and good trucks to use," Hadi said. "I learned from my experience in the Iraqi Army, do it well or don't do it at all."

As soldiers continue to work with the police, contributing to the development of the growing force, they express confidence with the Iraqi's leadership.

"Hadi is the right guy. He was specifically sent here to fix the problem with the militia," Trabucco said.

And Hadi can think of no better friend he would rather have to help him defeat the militia than those he has in the coalition, he said.

"The Iraqi police's best friends are the Americans, who protect and help them," he said. "We are working together as a team with our coalition friends."

The MEU is also ready to help the Iraqis take control of their city, said Col. A. M. Haslam, commanding officer.

"We are committed to helping the Iraqis defeat the Anti-Iraqi Forces working against stability and security in this great city," Haslam said. "Together, we are determined to restore the rule of law and order so Najaf citizens no longer have to live in fear of the militia."

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
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Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
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LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
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Sergeant Major DeBarrĀ enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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