Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 28 Aug 2008

From MNF-I, Soldiers Offer Microgrants, Security While Patrolling Streets of Sha’ab.

BAGHDAD — He sees a lot of potential in northern Baghdad.

During a routine patrol around the area, he points to several areas that need improvements – a park here, a new store sign there; even Sons of Iraq (Abna al-Iraq) checkpoints are on his radar for upgrading.

“(We’re) showing the people that we care about them, and we care about the future and trying to put money into the environment – treating them with dignity and respect – trying to get them out of their homes into a safe, secure environment so they feel comfortable with us,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Maynard. “Once we do that, they can start living normal lives.”

As the patrol drove around the Sha’ab neighborhood that surrounds Forward Operating Base Callahan, Maynard pointed to the areas that he sees room for improvement as well as those that have improved in his three weeks here.

In the eight months prior to arriving at FOB Callahan, Maynard and the other members of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were responsible for entry control points in Baghdad’s International Zone.

After an abbreviated relief-in-place of the counter improvised-rocket assisted mortar patrol mission from a 4th Inf. Div. Scout/Sniper Platoon, Maynard and his Soldiers hit the ground running – and with microgrant applications in hand.

In slightly more than three weeks, Maynard has processed nearly 30 applications, which he hopes will help to revitalize the small businesses off the heavily traveled roads here. Four previously submitted grants have been approved in that time, and shop owners were quick to put that money to use.

Read the rest here.