Local Military News

Soldiers put forensic training to use

Just days after completing an investigative forensics course, Iraqi Army law enforcement specialists had the opportunity to put their skills to the test.

Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 25th Brigade, 17th Iraqi Army Division brought in a suspected terrorist who had been caught in his home with bomb-making materials and rockets. While their former instructor looked on, the Iraqi Army forensic team began systematically collecting evidence.

"It was rewarding," said Bob Wirkner, their instructor, a civilian law enforcement professional attached to D Company, 1st "Dragon" Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. "They were able to harvest biometric evidence from the subject for comparison against the rockets and associated hardware. This is the type of evidence that is needed for the successful prosecution."

The investigation began by examining the rockets for evidence after they were verified as safe by an explosive ordnance disposal team. On the rockets were a series of fingerprints, all belonging to the same individual.

Fingerprints were then taken from the suspect, along with his DNA.

"They were very professional. They went about their job and collected evidence like you would expect to see any team of investigators back in the states," said 1st Lt. Benjamin Middleton, a platoon leader with 1st Battalion., 63rd Armor Regiment, and a Beaufort native.

Building the government of Iraq's prosecutorial abilities is an enduring capability that will allow the Iraqi government to possess a strong and impartial legal system after U.S. forces leave the country. The evidence-based prosecutorial capability currently being taught by the soldiers and civilian professionals of D Company is a practical step forward in a secure and stable Iraq.