News: 'The Why Generation'
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – The current generation of soldiers are part of what has been titled by many as the “Why” generation. They are the ones always asking questions and wanting to know the reasoning behind a task. They are a generation defined by curiosity and a need for explanations. They are a generation that often infuriates previous generations with their questioning.
For the soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, that are manning the entry control points on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, being part of the “Why” generation has proven to be a blessing. Go to any one of the various search points at either of the ECPs and you will hear a word repeated like it is part of a mantra: Why?
WHY does this man have three cell phones in his car?
WHY is this man brining in empty fuels can and rubber hoses?
WHY was this person banned from another United States military installation?
“Yes, we do want to stop unauthorized weapons from entering the forward operating base, but we also have to look beyond that. We look for potential threats, whether by the actions of terrorists or simple criminal acts.” said 1st Sgt. Helbert Izquierdo with HHC, 3BSTB.
The Visitor Control Center is responsible for the screening of all local nationals and third country nationals coming onto or leaving COB Adder.
Entry control point five is the access point for all of the installation’s logistical traffic.
“I won’t say that we have it harder than ECP 5,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Ochs who works at the VCC. “We deal with personnel on an individual level while ECP 5 focuses on convoys and larger vehicles. Each ECP has a unique mission and we each operate accordingly.”
Each civilian accessing COB Adder, whether a local or third country national coming on for the first time to find work or someone that has been driving convoys for years, falls under the same level of search. At a minimum, they must have their identifications verified against multiple federally and internationally updated biometric watch lists. They will then undergo an X-ray screening and a search of their belongings followed by a thorough vehicle search.
In an era of technological advances, our security inside the wire has never been more certain.
“We have all of these great electronics that enhance our capabilities,” said 2nd Lt. Jennifer Farland, ECP 5’s officer in charge, “but nothing replaces our Soldiers or the Ugandan security guards actually conducting a hands-on search. You won’t be able to always find a SIM card (small memory card like in a camera) in someone’s wallet with a metal detector or a knife hidden on a semi-truck.”
While these systems have served as excellent deterrents, it is the soldier on the ground whose inquisitive nature and inability to stop asking “why” that has led to the success of the VCC and ECP 5 in support of COB Adder.