AL ASAD, Iraq -- With heightened security surrounding the forward deployed bases, several third country nationals and local nationals are employed by companies who build, repair and otherwise facilitate things on these bases to make the life of service members somewhat easier while in the combat zone.
The Marines with the Badging Office at Al Asad, are responsible to badge each of these individuals coming aboard their base, so that they can be escorted, moved around the base and identified while doing their jobs.
"Security on the base is the main issue," said Cpl. Travis C. Adams, badging shift leader, Badging Office, 1st Battalion, 109th Mechanized Infantry, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. "That way we know who is on base and we are able to track them with a background check."
However, the badging system goes a lot further than just checking individuals upon the base.
"The purpose of the badging system is to have identification and background checks on all TCNs and LNs on base," said Sgt. James Kanelos, badging noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Badging Office. "Among that, we register everyone's vehicle on base, as well as satellite phones. Any items that get taken off base have to be registered here, too."
According to Adams, a native of Anaheim, Calif., not every individual has to go through the badging process when coming aboard the base.
"The only ones who don't have to go through it are American citizens and some of the coalition forces and NATO countries who have (Department of Defense) or (Common Access Card) cards," said Adams, a Buena Park High School graduate. "They still have to have a form of identification while on the base and have to be vetted, as all personnel aboard Al Asad have to have a badge, regardless."
Although a select few may be able to get aboard Al Asad without going through the badging process, a form of identification is still required at all times.
"The badging system affects everyone, including military," said Kanelos, a Boston native. "You can't move around the base without badges, and we have to be able to identify anyone at a moment's notice."
With the possibility of having to be identified in a split second, all TCNs and LNs are required to have their badges visible at all times while aboard the base.
"Red badges are restricted and have to be escorted," said Kanelos, a graduate from Salem High School. "Yellow badges have to be escorted and green badges are unescorted. None of the badges are authorized to leave this base."
As a form of identification, a badge is required to be carried by all individuals aboard Al Asad. The security of the base is heightened to a sense that if someone doesn't have a badge, they aren't supposed to be there.