HABBANIYAH, Iraq --
Once a month, the Iraqi police are paid for their everyday services. Marines of the Habbaniyah Police Transition Team, who work with the Iraqi Police daily, ensured their hard work over the last 30 days was rewarded with a much deserved payday May 3.
“They put in their time every day and look forward to getting paid,” said Lance Cpl. Adam C. Wemhoner, a gunner for the Habbaniyah PTT team, attached to 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1. “They’re doing a good job working with us and they are catching on to what we teach them pretty good.”
The Iraqi Police work closely with the Marines every day and payday is their monetary motivation to support their families and keep the streets clean with the Marines by their side.
“We try to help them in every aspect of their job here. They regularly go out on patrols with us and they receive daily classes on tactics, weapons and foot patrols,” said Sgt. Carmen A. Consolino, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Habbaniyah PTT team. “We’re trying to prepare them to become a stand-alone police department that the people can count on and trust. It takes time, but it’s working.”
For some infantry battalions, teaching police tactics could become a slight challenge, but with 2nd Bn., 24th Marines being a reserve battalion based out of Chicago, it is common to have police officers mixed into the bunch just about everywhere.
“Three out of the 10 guys on the team are police officers back home and that makes it a little bit easier for us because of their experience,” said Wemhoner, a 20-year-old from Denton, Texas. “But at the same time, they’re not dealing with the threats of (improvised explosive devices) in Chicago.”
Consolino agreed saying: “With our experience, it makes certain things a little bit easier but there’s still that unknown and there are much different threats here than back home.”
Although the Marines’ jobs in Iraq seem difficult and stressful, progress is being made and the Marines believe it will pay off in the long run.
“The sacrifices we are making here are not for nothing. As long as we have a little faith and patience, we will accomplish our mission,” said Consolino, a 37-year-old police officer from Chicago. “Patience and persistence is eventually what is going to pay dividends in the end.”