By 2nd Lt. Cait Smith
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
BAGHDAD – The Ghazaliyah Guardians, a Sons of Iraq organization, work in the same area as troops of the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.
The Ghazaliyah Guardians are composed of local citizens whose main goal is to secure the area in which their families live and many imagine an Iraq where security is less a necessity and more of a preventative measure. The guardians work out in the public eye, providing a presence that helps the neighborhood residents feel secure.
Since Oct. 1, The Government of Iraq now pays them for their hard work as the SoI are either transitioned into the Iraqi security forces or other meaningful employment.
The Ghazaliyah Guardian payday takes place at the joint security stations in Ghazaliyah because of the security provided and the centrality of the locations, said Staff Sgt. Dana Pinkston, a native of Centralia, Ill.
"Using this location and a combination of security forces, it ensures coalition forces will have the ability to collect information on the local nationals in and around the JSS," said Pinkston. "It improves security for everyone."
At JSS Ghazaliyah I this month, Ghazaliyah Guardian payday was integrated with measures such as handheld scanning equipment to increase JSS security and to help keep the Ghazaliyah Guardian pay system straight.
The systems are akin to small computers where a person's iris is scanned, their fingerprints and a photo are taken and personal information is stored.
The troopers of the Security Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 5th Sqdn. 4th Cav. Regt. took three days to ensure all the Ghazaliyah Guardians who came to be paid were also entered into this system. They properly took in the information, ensured it was processed, and tagged each Ghazaliyah Guardians for easy identification in future paydays.
"This system will be very helpful in identifying who is and who is not a friend to the JSS," said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Thomas of Waterloo, Iowa. "Using it can reduce the enemy's threat and also the threat to the Ghazaliyah Guardians of being hurt or infiltrated."
The December Ghazaliyah Guardian payday was a two-fold experience bringing increased security for the Iraqi army and coalition forces and increased peace of mind for the population from the continued presence of the concerned citizens who know what right looks like in Ghazaliyah.