Houston native manages detainees in Iraq
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20062363029
Story by Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen
CAMP FALLUJA, Iraq (Feb. 3, 2006) -- The Marines in 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment bring in suspected insurgents as detainees from their area of operation in order to keep local Iraqi citizens safe. Having one location for all of the detainees to be processed helps expedite the process.
Sergeant William B. Iversen, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the battalion’s detainee facility, is instrumental in making sure these detainees end up where they are supposed to; prison.
“I am here so that the companies only have to drop off a few Marines with a detainee and head right back out into the fight,” the Houston native stated. “All they have to do is drop them off and we handle the rest.”
The 1996 graduate of Nimitz High School was deployed to Iraq in 2003 with the Marines of Company G, clearing Fallujah of insurgents. Instead of exchanging fire with the enemy this deployment, Iversen is processing them as detainees to keep them off the streets and keep the Iraqi citizens safe.
“Each deployment has different missions in different locations. I have been on five deployments during my time in the Corps,” Iversen stated.
Before leaving for his second tour to Iraq Iversen worked in the operations and training section for the battalion. He supervised clerks that prepared training schedules and weapons ranges that the battalion used for training.
Working at the detainee facility is a different experience for Iversen.
“Working in the operations section you knew what you were going to have to do on a daily basis,” Iversen stated. “The detainee facility is a completely different story. I don’t know when things are going to happen and with how many detainees. I have had 23 come through at one time, so it can get busy. It is an on-call type of job.”
The Marines are constantly conducting operations and missions in the AO, having brought 420 likely enemy insurgents to the facility for processing.
Once a detainee arrives at the facility, Iversen places him in front of a small cubical in which they put their personal belongings. This keeps their belongings separate from those of other detainees. It also protects their belongings from being lost. Information sheets are filled out by Iversen or one of the guards containing the detainee’s name, age, distinguishing marks, and a description for recognition purposes.
Photos are also taken of the detainees in front of a height chart with their detainee number. This makes it easier to identify the detainee if they are forwarded up to the Regimental Detention Facility. Photos are also taken of any distinguishing marks or tattoos. Iversen also runs explosive residue and gun powder tests on all detainees, which can be used as evidence of insurgent activities if they are sent to the RDF and then to Abu Grab prison.
“It is a pretty simple process, but it has to be done in the right way so we don’t forget a step and have the detainee get released for something we forgot,” Iversen said.
The detainee facility is open 24 hours a day which can make for long hours of work. Iversen is more than willing to put in the time and hard work to get the enemy insurgents off the streets of Iraq so they cannot do any harm.
“This is one of the hardest things I have had to deal with, knowing that some of the detainees have just killed some of my fellow Marines,” Iversen stated. “But that is something you can’t think about, because we have to get them processed so they can go to jail for a long time. Then they can’t hurt any more of my fellow Marines or local Iraqis.”