Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good News from Iraq: 20 Dec 2007

From MNF-I, Infantry, Reserves Provide Humanitarian Aid.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — Soldiers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment completed two humanitarian missions in Al Arafia including a food and schoolbag drop, Dec. 8, and a medical assistance visit, Dec. 14.

Company D Soldiers together with Concerned Local Citizens (CLC) of Arafia, handed food and bags of school supplies to village residents. CLC groups are like Neighborhood Watch groups in the United States.

“Normally we do these bag drops for schools, but school was not in session on that day, so we called the Concerned Local Citizens from the area,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Hooker, from Shelby, Mich., a platoon leader in Company D. “They put the word out and gathered all the kids together who formed a nice line.”

Village sheiks expressed their concern to the regiment about providing food for their citizens. They also wanted to ensure that local children have the opportunity to further their education with proper supplies. Out of these conversations grew the schoolbag and food drop mission.

Company D Soldiers went back to Arafia Dec. 14 to conduct a free medical clinic. The 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment physician assistant, Capt. Sayed Ali, and medics from the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion, a reserve unit out of Knoxville, Tenn., gave medical assistance to local residents.

“The citizens seemed eager to get medical attention,” said 1st Lt. Erik Miller, from Star Cross, N.J., a platoon leader in Company D. “They were all very friendly, and I think they liked the fact that U.S. forces and the Concerned Local Citizens were giving medical aid instead of just providing security to their community.”

Hooker agreed. “This all goes along with our entire mission,” he said. “We and the Concerned Local Citizens are helping to improve the quality of life as well as the security for the local nationals in the (3rd Brigade Combat Team’s) area of operation.”

Company D, 1-15th Inf. Regt., is attached to 3-1st Cav. Regt., which is assigned to 3rd, 3rd Infantry Division. The brigade has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.