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A convoy of logistics vehicle systems loaded with concrete barriers is unloaded on a street in Baghdadi, Iraq, April 6. The barriers were strategically placed along the perimeter of the Baghdadi police station to provide protection and diversion. The mission was executed by Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

MWSS Marines place barriers in Baghdadi

12 Apr 2006 | Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

As a 24-vehicle convoy rolls down the streets, a voice of a Baghdadi police officer can be heard over the intercom saying in Arabic, "It's a gift from God. The Marines are here to help us."

The "gift from God" was the engineers of Marine Wing Support Squadron 274. They came to provide force protection to the Baghdadi police by setting up concrete barriers around their station.

MWSS-274 functions under the umbrella of Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

"The reason for the barriers was to provide protection and diversion," said 2nd Lt. Brandon E. Cooley, heavy equipment officer-in-charge, MWSS-274. "We also set up an entry control point for the military housing units."

According to Marines with MWSS-274, engineer equipment operator, MWSS-274, the Baghdadi police have been one of the biggest threats to insurgents in Iraq, because they continue to track and kill some of the most wanted people sought by coalition forces.

"If all we have to do is put up barriers and that makes them want to support their country more, I will do it all day," said Cpl. Travis G. Hill, engineer equipment operator, MWSS-274. "The more comfortable we help them feel, the more they can take over their own country."

Although the Marines were flocked by the local children, they kept their focus. Even when a forklift broke down the Marines kept motivated and got the job done.

"It was very motivating for us being the first Marines to come out and show our support to the police and people of Baghdadi," said Derrick. "We tried to stay low key and hurry to get the mission done."

The Marines went out with one more mission on their mind in addition to getting the barriers set up for the police. 

"We had a supplemental mission of supporting the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment," said Cooley.

The infantry unit had moved into Baghdadi just a few days earlier to counter insurgent movement in that city. The Marines of 3/3 did not have the basic administrative supplies for their continuing operations.

"We brought them supplies and materials that they didn't have," said Cooley. "It just goes to show you that the Marines of 274 can do it all."

With aviation support being the highest priority for the Marines of MWSS-274 they continue to ask for more missions outside the perimeter of Al Asad.

"As long as we keep up aviation support we can get more missions that show the Iraqi people our continuing effort to improve their lives," said Cooley.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing