NINAWA, Iraq — Since the start of the war in Iraq until now, the role and mission of the U.S. forces has effectively changed.
The one thing that hasn't changed however is the assurance of safety and security for the Iraqi people and U.S. forces working side by side with its Iraqi counterparts to obtain the country's vision of a better and stronger Iraq.
A major asset in obtaining that goal relies on the security of the border between Iraq and Syria.
Day and night, Soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kan., patrol the Iraq-Syrian border and work with their Iraqi counterparts to ensure illegal activity doesn't occur.
"There are legitimate ways to earn a living and there are illegitimate ways," said Capt. Matthew McCarty, of Houston, commander of Troop B, 1-4 Cav. "Smuggling across the border is an illegal activity that is not in line with the Government of Iraq and the vision that the country has."
McCarty added that the "Raiders" Squadron is working with its Iraqi counterparts in creating jobs for the residents in their area "so they can start working and earn money legitimately instead of smuggling products and risking their lives by going across the border."
Along with patrolling the border, Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew McDowell, the top noncommissioned officer of the "Raiders" Squadron says his Soldiers also work unilaterally with other U.S., Iraqi and Pesh-Merga forces providing security at checkpoints.
"The long lasting impression we want to give our Iraqi counterparts is that no matter how big the mission is you can still overcome it," said McDowell. "This is a pure cavalry mission ... and every day I am in awe of what these troopers do."