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AL ASAD, Iraq (April 8, 2005) - Cpl. Michael A. Morton, border patrol instructor and native of Brownville Junction, Maine, helps an Iraqi Border Patrolman load a magazine during marksmanship training here. Morton and his fellow instructors trained 45 patrolmen, who graduated the three-week course April 9.

Photo by Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis

Iraqi border patrolmen ready, prepared

9 Apr 2005 | Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis

“It is written, ‘God will raise up strong men in
difficult times.’ This is a difficult time and I believe that you are the strong men who will
be the heroes of Iraq,” said Col. Kent W. Bradford to the graduating class of Iraqi Border
Patrolmen.

After completing a three-week advanced course in tactics, techniques and
procedures, 45 Iraqi Border Patrolmen have earned the skills necessary to complete the
daunting task of patrolling the troubled borders of Iraq.

“I salute you as brave and honorable men who have chosen to serve your country
in a very important way,” Bradford, the guest of honor, said to the graduates through a
translator. “Your challenge ahead will not be an easy one. “Whether you serve on the
Kuwaiti, Jordanian or Syrian border there will be difficult times.”

With the help of the dedicated Marine instructors at the training academy, the
newest generation of patrolmen are ready to face the challenges that lie ahead.

“We volunteered to be here because we know the training will be fruitful,” said
Lt. Ferass Hatef, Iraqi Border Patrolman and recent graduate. “The border needs us. We
are eager to get back, because we know we are ready.”

The border patrol academy is comprised of Marine instructors who teach a
syllabus from the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior with the aid of Iraqi translators. The
Marines train the Iraqis seven days a week, with an emphasis on teamwork at the heart of
all they do.

“When they come to us, most have limited skills and experience in law
enforcement,” said Cpl. Thomas M. Chipman, instructor and native of Statesville, N.C.
“When we look at them now, we can see they are more focused, more intense and
working together as a team.”

During their time at the academy, the patrolmen completed courses is in many
areas of law enforcement. The classes included weapons handling, marksmanship,
vehicle searching, law enforcement ethics, defensive tactics and martial arts.

“The Marines are good men, serious in their work,” said Lt. Kaakem Zyarah, Iraqi
Border Patrolman and recent graduate. “They have taught us many things. Things that
will help us serve the country of Iraq against the terrorists and criminals.”

“The Marine instructors here understand the importance of their jobs,” said Chief
Warrant Officer Scott Reinhardt, director of the regional academy and native of
Tappahannock, Va. “They are focused and determined to provide the best training
possible.”

As the graduates left the academy to return to their home stations, the Marines
serving at the academy prepared for the next group, continuing their paramount task of
training Iraqis to defend themselves.

“[The border patrol] mission is critical,” Reinhardt said. “They are responsible for
stopping the flow of weapons and insurgents into this country. They are the first line of
defense.”

“They have trained very hard while they were here,” he continued. “As long as
they get the support they need out in the field, they will be very effective.”

This graduation of border patrolmen marks continued success for the Al Asad
Regional Police and Department of Border Enforcement Academy. With each graduating
class of Iraqi Police and Border Patrolmen, they advance closer and closer to a brighter
Iraq.

- For more information about the Marines or news reported on in this
story, please contact Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis by e-mail at defilippisrc@acemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil -
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