NEAR KARMAH, Iraq -- Like technology from the latest James Bond movie, a system using finger prints and retina scans help Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, Kilo Company, tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys.
The Biometrics Automated Toolset System, otherwise known as BATS, is a database which assists in finding insurgents and other wanted individuals. The system takes finger prints or scans the retina of an eye and stores it with information like names, pictures and background information to form an individual profile. The profile provides information about an individual’s past records, if the person has been previously detained, where they’ve worked or whether or not they are wanted for illegal activity.
Kilo Co. is the first of Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines to utilize the system and in the first day they were able to identify and detain three individuals for criminal activity.
“The first guy who ended up getting his finger prints taken was the nicest guy,” said 1st Lt. David A. Keltner, 3rd platoon commander for Kilo Co. and Tucson, Ariz. native. “He would come up to me every day and say, “Hi Mr. Daoud,” which is how the locals refer to Keltner. “Then it turns out he was a bad guy with a ‘capture’ or ‘kill’ status.”
The process can take anywhere from 12 to 90 minutes. A Marine working a vehicle check point or conducting “knock and talk” operations collects biometric data from individuals, searches the database and looks for a match with on-file records.
The system is user-driven, however. The amount of information found in the database is dependent on how much data previous operators or administrators have entered into the system.
“It’s a good system,” said Sgt. Jared J. Hamilton, 3rd squad leader from Eldridge, Iowa. “It allows us to identify individuals who need to be detained for actions against coalition forces.”
This system will surely be a time and life saver and will simplify the process of finding out who the bad guys really are.