Law and order enforced overseas

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Law and order enforced overseas

Story and photos by Spc. Jessica Zullig

135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 3rd Infantry Division PAO

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq – The dead silence of a dark, summer Iraq night is interrupted by a sudden, stern knock on the door of a containerized housing unit.

“Housing; military inspection. There are dogs present. Make no sudden or aggressive gestures,” announces the billeting manager of KBR housing compound.

As the tenants of the CHUs exit their rooms, the seven-man search team, 108th Military Police Company (Air Assault) out of Fort Bragg, N.C., assisted by three Military working dogs and counter intelligence personnel, respectfully search the living areas for violations of policies and General Order No. 1, which are prohibited activities for Soldiers.

“Their mission is to reduce the number of General Order No. 1 violations and bring the threat of information spillage down,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Perry, 108th MP Co. (Air Assault) provost sergeant.

Sergeant Jason Keller, noncommissioned officer in charge for the search team, and his Soldiers are accustomed to late nights. This small group of Soldiers manage a big mission – inspecting all non-military personnel businesses and housing areas spread across the large base.

“In the beginning, it felt like I didn’t have enough personnel to complete our mission,” said Sgt. Keller, an Albany, Ga., native. But it’s all time management, and come to find out, yes, we do have time.

During the three months the search team has been in theater, they’ve already completed 75 percent of their search area. These long days, allow the Soldiers to bond and grow together as a team.

“We have definitely developed closeness,” said Sgt. Keller. “We are the same platoon we were in the rear, just in different squads. Of course with deployments, it brings Soldiers and NCOs closer together.”

Force protection inspections are the main mission of the close-knit Soldiers of the search team, but they also have other duties. As MPs, they also respond to emergencies, such as indirect fire.

In the event that IDF occurs, the team and their internal medic is available to cordon off the affected area and prevent casualties. They direct traffic in and out of the area until a base response force and an explosive ordnance disposal team arrives.

Providing security for Morale, Welfare and Recreation events is also a mission tasked to the search team.

A visit from the New Orleans Saints cheerleaders, the Saintsations, drew a crowd of servicemembers from all over the base. Members of the search team were advised to be professional and were reminded that they were in control. Even though the team is mainly constructed of specialists and below, they had no problem taking charge of the situation.

“With the demeanor they carry, they don’t have any problems with someone not following instructions due to their rank,” said Sgt. 1st Class Perry.

The search team is a vital part of maintaining force protection at COB Speicher. Their inspections enforce law and order and help prevent espionage by confiscating media devices in the hands of unauthorized personnel.

“The search team has added something to force protection that couldn’t be done without them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Perry.

From force protection inspections to indirect fire response, the search team is working overtime to ensure that Soldiers, local nationals, DoD contractors and civilians on COB Speicher are safe and can complete their mission in Iraq as well.