Archive for the ‘recruits’ Category

New face of recruitment

Source: CentCom.

19 November 2007
By Cpl. Billy Hall
2nd Marine Division

AL QA’IM, Iraq — Droves of Iraqi men lined the streets of Ubaydi. The awakening call of roosters could be heard over the murmur of a crowd nearing 400. A conglomerate of Marines, soldiers, sailors, interpreters and Iraqi Police readied nearby at the local police station to kickoff a two-day Iraqi Police recruiting drive with the hopes of identifying 75 qualified recruits.

The district Police Transition Team, who advise, train and mentor local police, work hand in hand with the Betio Bastards of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, and the Iraqi Police to quell the need for additional local forces in the region.

“We are looking at hiring more policemen to [cover] the eastern part of Al Qa’im, in order to establish a police station north of the Euphrates River,” said Capt. Gerardo D. Gaje Jr., the district Police Transition Team leader.

In addition to providing sufficient security for the event, the elements of the recruiting team conducted a thorough screening of each applicant that included literacy testing, medical evaluations, administrative processing, security questionnaires and a physical fitness test. “For a lot of the (recruiting team), it was their first experience with recruiting,” said Gaje. “If they did recruit, it wasn’t to this extent.”

The Police Transition Team separated the massive crowd into groups and began to systematically arrive at the literacy testing station. Interpreters circled the classroom-like setting to help the staff administer the test designed to gauge reading and writing abilities.

When the applicant successfully passed the test, they moved on to be processed with the Biometrics Automated Toolset system, which is the database used in Iraq that identifies individuals through personal information, fingerprints, photographs from various angles and iris scans. A security questionnaire was also required to ensure they have no ties to criminal activity.

The magnitude of the turnout and the unpredictable environment proved to be a tasking challenge for coalition forces. “A couple of times the power went out, so we had to reconnect our computers,” said Cpl. John Michael Markle, an intelligence analyst with Task Force 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines, who assisted with the BAT system. “Really, the hardest part was the language barrier. We had only one interpreter between three BAT stations.”

Applicants still eligible after the initial stations were then ushered on to a comprehensive medical evaluation. Navy corpsmen took vital signs, height and weight measurements and tested range of motion to determine if they were fit for duty.

“A majority of them that were in the best physical condition were the farmers and fishermen,” said Hospitalman Anthony Eromosece, a Navy corpsman with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines, and Bronx, N.Y., native. “You can tell they’re hard working men with their bodies intact. I think a lot of (the applicants) should make it.”

The final stage of the screening, overseen by Marines and soldiers, included a physical fitness test that involved pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups and a 100-meter dash. Men, of ages ranging from 18 to their late 40s, took on a competitive mindset to prove their physical prowess. Failure to perform to a specific standard rendered an applicant ineligible for duty.

“There was frustration amongst some of the people that couldn’t pass a test, but that’s expected,” Gaje said. “It’s just the fact that everyone wants a job, and right now, being a policeman is one of the better paying jobs.”

At the conclusion of the recruiting drive, 75 qualified recruits were identified and will attend the Habbaniyah Police Training Center for an 8 to 9-week course before reporting for duty.

At a time when Iraqi Police face considerable challenges, the willingness of the local populace to take on the rigors of the job proves their determination to make a better tomorrow for Iraq.

Photo – AL QA’IM, Iraq – Seaman Anthony Eromosece, a Navy corpsman with Task Force 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, and Bronx, N.Y., native, checks the height of a potential recruit during an Iraqi Police recruiting drive conducted by the district Police Transition Team and.Task Force 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines. Navy corpsmen took vital signs, height and weight measurements and tested range of motion in order to determine if applicants were fit for duty in the Iraqi Police. Photo by: Cpl. Billy Hall.

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Denver Marines find common bond

1 Aug 07
By Staff Sgt. Matthew O. Holly
13th MEU

NEAR KARMAH, Iraq — Three Marines from Denver, Colo. find a common ground to build upon as they serve in a twelve-man infantry squad in Iraq. Out of the 11 Marines from 1st squad, 3rd platoon, Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, three are from the greater Denver metropolitan area. Their bond has become stronger after realizing they were all recruited from the same sub-station, Metro East, and two of the three had the same recruiter.

Although they are all from the same area, they never met each other until joining BLT 3/1. The squad leader, Sgt. Tim C. Tardif, a Highlands Ranch High School graduate, is the firm leader of the group. In terms of the usual squad leader, he is easy going and patient with his Marines. However, the four-time Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran expects a lot from his young Marines no matter where they’re from.

“When we first get the new Marines from the School of Infantry we have sort of a draft,” said Tardif. “And when I saw that Drewbell and Enriquez were from the Denver area, naturally they were my first round picks.”

The tie that binds these Marines was evident from the very beginning. The Marines talked about common experiences and places they knew of while growing up in the “Mile-High” city. They all love the Denver Broncos, which is enough to keep the bitterest enemies on friendly terms. “Not only are they good people, but they’re good Marines and well disciplined,” said Tardif, who puts his two fellow Coloradoans in the top three of his squad.

“The quality of Marines who enlist out of RSS Metro East is very high,” said Staff Sgt. Lawrence W. Watters, canvassing recruiter for RSS Metro East. “We don’t let them settle for the bare minimum. We push them to strive for the best.”

The second of the three is Lance Cpl. Ian P. Drewbell, an automatic rifleman for 1st squad, who sometimes connects the most obscure actors to Kevin Bacon in between patrols. He joined the Marine Corps to pursue his interest in helicopters, but decided on a different route. “I joined the Marine Corps to become a helicopter crew chief,” said the Eagle Crest High School graduate. “But then I realized that being a grunt is what the Marines are all about– and I still get to fly in helicopters.”

Drewbell continued by saying that despite a few surprises, his first enlistment is everything he had hoped for. While he hasn’t decided on whether or not to reenlist, he plans on being a helicopter pilot in the future.

Lastly, Lance Cpl. Taylor L. Enriquez, rifleman and 1st squad radio operator, graduated from Cherry Creek High School in 2003. He’s the character of the trio and has the ability to keep his buddies in stitches during any situation. When it comes to mission accomplishment, however, he is all business.

“We all come from the same area,” said Enriquez. “And out here we have the same goal, (which is making sure) everyone gets home alive.” Enriquez’s goals are simple–he wants to have a successful tour, go to college and thrive in whatever he does in life. According to Watters, high-quality Marines come from the Denver-area recruiting offices because recruiters challenge potential recruits and instill in them a sense of pride and belonging.

Photo – Sergeant Tim C. Tardif, squad leader for Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, Kilo Company, 3rd Platoon, 1st Squad, conducts a hasty vehicle checkpoint near Karmah during an evening patrol. Tardif is from one of three Marines in his squad from the Denver area. Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew O. Holly.

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