NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Chuckles for the Day: This ought to make all grandpas feel warm and cozy
Harry Breyer, former New York Shipyard employee, member of ICAC of Fairview

Letters from Iraq by Sgt. Joe Farley......"only a few days to go our tour will be over"


Photo: Sgt. Joe Farley, former resident of Gloucester City, poses with local Sheiks during a Iraqi Police recruiting drive. Over 500 Iraqi local nationals were processed......Only a guy from Gloucester City could charm six sheiks to pose for a photo. Way to go Joe!

Hi Bill & Connie,

Well I want to write you hopefully my LAST email from Iraq before my Soldiers and I return home safely in Germany around the 22-23 of January 2008. Well its 0005 am on the 15th of January and its my last night I get to sleep in my room (container) before me and the last 7 Soldiers remaining from my Platoon here on FOB Iskan have to move into TENTS. We are probably flying out on Chinook Helicopters later sometime the night of the 18th and heading to BIAP.

So, to catch you up on what's been going on the past two weeks.

We conducted an Iraqi Police recruiting drive in which we had well over 500 Iraqi local nationals get processed thru at the Iraqi Army Compound located adjacent to FOB ISKAN over a 6 day period.  This was the first time any of my soldiers and me had ever been thru such a MISSION. I'm guessing that the 3ID leadership felt we Cant_do_a_pullup_without_rocking_th had the most experience and we could handle anything they would throw at us even though we had only 2 weeks remaining here in IRAQ!

Photo: Police Recruits doing to enlarge

As always we adapted and overcame any shortcomings and improved on each and every day putting more people thru the screening to become possibly Iraqi Police in the future.

Each potential candidate came with their packet and then got checked thru the HIIDE system in which we scan their pupils of their eyes and also scan their finger prints. We check if they have any prior arrests and negative incidents in which they had previously been scanned in the past. All this information then gets downloaded at the end of each day and gets put into the system which tracks thousands of Iraqi Mad_props_a_man_dress_and_barefoot Local Nationals. Once this is done a group of ten goes thru and has 10 minutes to take their reading & writing comprehension exam.

Photo: Recruit must run a mile to qualify. This man is doing it in his bare feet on to enlarge

The paragraph that they have to answer 5 basic questions is probably at the best a 3rd grade level. But as mentioned previously most Iraqi's don't get the opportunity to complete school and have to help at home.

After they do their test it gets graded by our Interpreters and they receive their score and then talk to an Iraqi Police officer. Once finished they have to conduct a PT test of 5 categories. They must perform 20 pushups, 20 Sit-ups, 5 Pull-ups, run 100 m, and 1500 m for time. These factors in with all that No_this_isnt_the_welfare_line_its_i PASS their Reading & Writing Exam. Photo:

Some of the 500 recruits who applied for a job on the Iraqi police force (click to enlarge)

It's most important that each of the candidates can read and write because as an IP they have to be able to thoroughly understand their job duties and have the ability to complete the basic reports that they submit in their every day missions. Of the 500 Iraqi Local National only about 200 passed both the reading & writing portions and PT exam. These 200 then will go on to Babylon and Hillah where they will go thru another extensive exam and from there about 75% will get hired on to become Iraqi Police. 

Each regular Iraqi Police makes between $300-400 max and this is enough to provide for their families. Its mind boggling how little they get but I guess its better then having them out there and tempted by Al Qaeda and other terror organizations that are present here in Iraq and taking their money to conduct attacks against Coalition Forces and Iraqi Police and Army personnel.

We are now currently conducting our 6th day of OJT for our NEW MP's (230th MPCO) out of out Kaiserslautern, Germany. We want them to have a good change over because it's always good to set up the incoming unit for success.  We have already conducted our layouts of all our Hmmmv's and ASV's Sgt_noble_malone_correcting_the_sit (Armored Security Vehicles), radios, Weapons, ammo, pyro, laser sights, night vision devices, computers, and the rest of the equipment so we can sign this all over to them.

Photo: Sgt. Noble Malone instructing recruit on proper way to do situp (click to enlarge)

As a Squad Leader I had over 3-4 Million dollars worth of property to maintain and hold accountability for. I think I had more stress these past 2-3 days making sure everything was accounted for and then transferred over properly to hand receipts to ensure the incoming Squad leader is set up for success and not left hanging. I was finally able to enjoy a nice evening at the gym and running 5 miles on the treadmill and doing some weight

We have 2 days left to let them go out and conduct missions and patrol the areas that their going to be responsible after we leave here for the next 15 months by themselves.  We have spent the past 3 days getting them familiarized with the primary & alternate routes for each of the Iraqi Police Ssg_farley_and_marco_the_k9_doggy Stations and all their Check Points.

Photo: SSG Farley with K-9 Marco (click to enlarge)

We also made sure to introduce all the key MP leaders (NCO's and Officers) to the Iraqi Police Chiefs and Deputies of each Police Station. The other remaining days we have got them up to speed on trip tickets, mission briefs and debriefs, detainee reports,PSMR Reports (500 Question report documenting each Iraqi Police's status monthly), Story boards, IP Manning, and also to the FOB showing them all the stuff they need to do on a daily basis. 

Well its 0100 am and I think I've talked your ear off again. I might have to take you up on the offer on becoming a journalist...ha-ha...But I do enjoy writing especially informing others of the stuff that most of us don't get to see on the TV or read in the Newspapers.

One_hand_pullps_are_no_joke There's a lot of PROGRESS going on here and all the people who are blind to the fact its IMPORTANT for their sons and daughters, husbands and wives to be here and doing what we are doing to help not only protect our Country, United States of America but to help improve the World and keep terrorists from building up and getting stronger and attacking again like they did on September 11, 2001.

Photo: SSG Farley can still do one-arm chin-ups! (click to enlarge)
I am hoping to come home now around the 20th of February after I take a little vacation and forget about the past 15 months and then see my family and friends. I will ensure that I come next store and say Hello. Please let me know before I leave here if you would like something from Iraq. It's not a problem.  Also try to locate the address of the Gloucester City soldier that is now in Germany that you mentioned earlier that is also an MP. If you get me his name and address I be please to help in any way I can.

Thanks for always being a good listener. Looks like the Patriots and the Packers will be in the Super Bowl. My prediction is Patriots 31-24 over the Packers.


SSG Joseph Farley
127th MPCO
CMR 470 Box 1686
APO AE 09185

Note from Bill: Sgt Joe Farley, is a former resident of Gloucester City and a graduate of Gloucester City High School. The Farley's are our neighbors. We watched Joe grow up from a little tyke into a man. He is great representative of the community of Gloucester City. 

On behalf of the residents in Gloucester City I like to say, "We are very proud of you Joe. Thank you and your fellow soldiers for the sacrifices you have made to protect our country."

Sincerely, Bill             

Related: Christmas letter from SSG Farley            Related: SSG Farley's October Letter