AL ASAD, Iraq
(June 5, 2007)
(From right to left) Sgt. Michael Bigley, a Regional Detention Facility 3 security chief, 1st Lt. Roe Lemons, the executive officer, Lance Cpl. Mikell Young, an RDF guard and Cpl. Robert Meisner, the detention operations noncommissioned officer all attached to Bravo Battery, Task Force Military Police, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, are just a few of the Marines who maintain and secure the detention facilities.
Task Force Military Police ensures dignified treatment of prisoners in Iraq
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (FWD)
Story Identification #: 20076545229
Story by Sgt. Anthony Guas, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (FWD)
Photo by: Sgt. Anthony Guas
AL ASAD, Iraq (June 5, 2007) --
When service members think of military police, they think of those who stand guard at gates or drive around trying to maintain order, but while in Iraq there is a group of Marines that have a different mission.
The Marines of Bravo Battery, Task Force Military Police, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, are responsible for the security and handling of detainees at the Regional Detention Facilities in the Al Anbar province.
“We have Marines working 12 to 16-hour shifts doing everything from guard force to reactionary force,” said 1st Sgt. Melvin Chandler, the Bravo Battery first sergeant. “They are also responsible for the movement of detainees to different RDFs, medical and anywhere they need to go.”
The Marines of Bravo Battery are playing an important role in the future of the Iraqi government.
“We have an essential mission because we will hand this over to the Iraqi government,” said 1st Lt. Roe Lemons, the Bravo Battery executive officer. “They need to be able to run their own prisons.”
Bravo Battery is in charge of three RDFs, located in Al Asad, Ramadi and Fallujah.
“The Marines are responsible for the processing of detainees when they arrive to moving them around,” said Lemons. “They have to make sure that they prepare the detainees for either release or transfer.”
About 50 percent of the Marines who man the RDFs are individual augments to Bravo Battery, according to Chandler.
“We have a wide range of Marines,” said Chandler. “We have 42 different (military occupational specialties), anywhere from cooks to amtrackers. But they are doing an outstanding job for not being correctional Marines.”
Although a large majority of Bravo Battery is comprised of individual augments, there are still correctional specialists there to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“I am in charge of the procedural operations, everything from how the guard force operates to the physical security,” said Sgt. Michael Bigley, a correctional specialist and security chief for Bravo Battery. “I am like the check and balance. I walk through and make sure that the Marines are doing the right thing.”
Although security is very important, so is the humane treatment of all detainees, according to Chandler. “We have to treat everyone equally and make sure that we are transferring the right ones to good citizens,” said Chandler. “We don’t want to put insurgents back on the streets. We want to treat the detainees right so that when we release them they have a better respect for coalition forces.”
The Marines rotate through various posts in the RDF, which range from catwalks to control points. Just like standing guard in various posts in the Corps, Marines have to battle the same thing, complacency.
“The Marines are doing an outstanding job for how young they are,” said Chandler. “The toughest part of the day is having to just sit and watch the detainees.”
Although the job may become mundane, the Marines continue to stay on their toes and for the most part enjoy their duty.
“I really enjoy the job because it is something totally different than what I expected to do,” said Lance Cpl. Mikell Yound, a field wireman by trade currently attached to Bravo Battery. “It shows how versatile we can be as Marines.”
Just like the worker ants are responsible for the success of the colony, the junior Marines play a pivotal role for Bravo Battery.
“At the end of the day, I know that I can go back to my room satisfied knowing that I have bettered the Marines,” said Bigely. “I know that I have not only given them the tools to properly handle detainees, but life-long skills. The true success and big part of this is the junior Marines, it all works because of them.”