Spc. Charles Kindstrand, from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division sits with an Iraqi child and helps him count using candy. Kindstrand, a Lillington, N.C., native was on patrol gathering information from the residents in Karma, Iraq.
Soldiers working closer than ever with Iraqis
By Staff Sgt. Kason Fark
BAGHDAD-As he sipped his cola, Capt. Darren Fowler, commander of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, thought long and hard about the day’s events. His company had just completed a clearing operation as the supporting element in one of the hottest spots in western Baghdad.
Southern Ghazaliya was once home to some of the wealthiest Sunni Arabs in Iraq. However, after the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque in Samarra, it is now a battleground between Sunni residents who wish to stay and Shia Muslims from other parts of Baghdad who would like to see a Sunni-free capital.
Major Chasib, an Iraqi Army company commander, could not be happier. His company has been receiving more support than ever from coalition forces to bring down the sectarian violence in their sector.
“What can I do for you?” Captain Fowler asked, anticipating an opportunity to further enable Chasibs’ combat power by providing supplies or equipment.
“Nothing,” the major smiled.” You are here and that is enough.”
The two forces have combined to make an alliance they hope is powerful enough to quell the violence that has steadily infiltrated daily life in southern Ghazaliya.
As Co. D has witnessed, the 4th Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division is ready and willing to do its part in securing Ghazaliya for all ofits residents, regardless of their religion.
Many Shia Muslims still reside in southern and middle Ghazaliya neighborhoods, where Sunni insurgents are trying to force them out of their homes. Major Chasib is trying to establish peace between the warring factions, working with Iraqi security forces and the local elected officials in Ghazaliya.
Fowler’s company is working on another level with the Iraqi Army. An Iraqi Army officer, Lieutenant Mohammed, and his interpreter, Scorpion, are sleeping, eating, working, and riding along with 1st Lt. Rick Stenberg’s platoon, in order to give the young Iraqi officer a chance to get familiar with American tactics, techniques, and procedures for counterinsurgency.
With their officers riding shotgun, Fowler said the Iraqi Army will be receiving well trained leadership that has school house and boots-on-theground training.
1st Lt. Rick Stenberg talks to Iraqi Army troops through an interpreter during security operations in Baghdad’s Ghazaliya neighborhood.