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Marines help Iraqi government improve border

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 20053711126
Story by Cpl. Matthew R. Jones

HUSAYBAH, Iraq (Feb. 28, 2005) -- Marines from C Company, 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7, improved the international border between Iraq and Syria near the town of Husaybah by building a massive dirt barricade.

The Marines assisted the new Iraq government in their desire to stop the smuggling of arms, insurgents and goods across the border in this volatile region. The coalition forces are using the assets they have to provide a safer Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government.

Strains of concertina wire were run along the berm in order to provide another deterrent for the illegal border crossers. The Iraqi government also ordered the formal closing of the Husaybah point of entry into the country. The border has been closed due to the high level of insurgent activity using the crossing.

The insurgency has used the crossing and the neighboring border city as a safe haven to smuggle both fighters and weapons into and out of the country. Many of the foreign fighters that fought in Fallujah had crossed into the country at Husaybah.

The Marines of Headquarters and Support Platoon Company C, which is based out of Camp Lejuene, will build approximately 5 miles of berm between the two countries, said Staff Sgt. Ronald S. Gillaspie, heavy equipment operation chief.

The new border includes three phases, a trench, a berm and concertina wire.

A D-9 bulldozer dug the trench, which is roughly six feet deep. The dirt removed to dig the trench was then used to build the berm. Another bulldozer piles the dirt to a height of approximately 10 feet.

“A two-bulldozer team can build one quarter of a mile of the new border in a day,” said Gillaspie, 29, a native of Crown Point, Ind.

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