Not Just About Getting the Bad Guys:

Iraqi, coalition forces hit Ghazaliyah with security, service combination

By Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma
1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

BAGHDAD – It’s a place where bullet-holes spider web across kitchen windows and heaps of garbage blanket every street corner. Here, the sporadic sound of shooting doesn’t faze its inhabitants because the clatter of gunfire is as common as the numbing noise of horns during rush hour traffic.

            Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers are placing an emphasis on humanitarian efforts in conjunction with one of their main clearance operations, “Arrowhead Strike 9,” in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood, a place known for its history of violence.

 “We know that the (counterinsurgency) effort requires that we secure the population and build faith in host Nation’s capabilities to provide services and a quality of life that will deny the insurgents sanctuary,” said Col. J.B. Burton, Commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, from Schweinfurt, Germany.

According to Iraqi Army Col. Ghassan, the commander of the 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, 70 to 75 percent of the people are relaxed about what the Iraqi and coalition forces are doing here.

In joint meetings throughout the operation, the combined group agreed that providing services to the community should be hand in hand with major clearing operations such as this one.

“Big-scale operations on cleaning the area are a very important mission to help improve the populace’s image of the Iraqi Army,” added the commander.

In order to improve relations with the local populace, Iraqi and coalition forces are not only continuing to secure the city with operation “Arrowhead Strike 9”, but contracting local sanitation crews to improve the appearance of the war-torn streets that weave throughout the city.

In addition to sweeping up the loose trash and debris, there were four sewage disposal teams in the area.

“The linking of medical operations, school operations, and other humanitarian operations to the effort is simple. Combining these efforts with clearing operations demonstrates that the Iraqi security and coalition forces in partnership have access to the resources which create a higher quality of life for the citizens of our area of operation,” Burton said.

In a neighborhood where healthcare is nonexistent, basic services that a medical operation ran by the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, were proven successful by the amount of locals who filed into lines to obtain treatment March 25.

“It was very effective and a good way to reach out and make people feel safer about their community and provide them with some basic essential services,” said Lt. Col. Avanulas Smiley, the commander of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

“I think it shows that were not just robots out here to destroy the city, but that we care and while we’re here we’re trying to do some good,” said Pfc. James Workman with the 301st Physiological Company attached to 2-12 Cav.

 Luckily for the children of the neighborhood it wasn’t all thermometers and stethoscopes. 

After receiving treatment, children walked down the school’s main hallway and out the door where they were greeted by Iraqi Army soldiers who handed out soccer balls, stuffed animals, backpacks, color pencils and other school supplies.

For some soldiers, the most rewarding part of operations like this is the chance to let the kids know that there’s some hope and troops are here to do good things and help make this country better.

“We’re not just here to take care of the bad guys, we’re here to help them as well,” said Capt. Jeff Wright, the fire support officer of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and native of Arizona City, Ariz.

 “Just seeing how happy the kids get with something as simple as a soccer ball or a box of crayons, through their eyes you realize how much we take things for granted back home,” said Workman, native of San Diego, Calif.

Spc. Juan Pacheco, an infantryman with Company D, 2-12 Cav, said “When you look at the kids’ expressions you cannot help but feel that all the (sacrifice) is for something. That it all has a purpose.”

In dedication to the welfare of the Iraqi people, the battle space owner is also working on a couple of sewage pump repair projects. And there is one large project, the auto-sewage bypass station, which the corps of engineers is also working.

“I think a large effect is going to take some time, but I think people are starting to see the smaller effects,” Smiley said.

Spc. Juan Pacheco, an infantryman with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and native of Panoma, Calif., stands ready to catch an Iraqi boy who climbed up a barrier during a medical operation in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. Pacheco has been in the Army for about three years. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Ready to catch you

Spc. Juan Pacheco, an infantryman with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and native of Panoma, Calif., stands ready to catch an Iraqi boy who climbed up a barrier during a medical operation in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. Pacheco has been in the Army for about three years. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

 An Iraqi Army medic checks the blood pressure of a woman during a medical operation at a school in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. The humanitarian mission took place during a clearing operation coined “Arrowhead Strike 9.” (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Iraqi medic helps Iraqi woman

An Iraqi Army medic checks the blood pressure of a woman during a medical operation at a school in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. The humanitarian mission took place during a clearing operation coined “Arrowhead Strike 9.” (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

An Iraqi boy tugs on Sgt. Pietrzyk Bjoerm’s stethoscope as the healthcare specialist with the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division Military Transition Team, conducts a medical screening of the child during a medical operation in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

The future of Iraq

An Iraqi boy tugs on Sgt. Pietrzyk Bjoerm’s stethoscope as the healthcare specialist with the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division Military Transition Team, conducts a medical screening of the child during a medical operation in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

An Iraqi boy and girl walk towards the entrance of the school with handfuls of school supplies during a medical operation in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Happy handfuls

An Iraqi boy and girl walk towards the entrance of the school with handfuls of school supplies during a medical operation in the Iraqi capital’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

Iraqi army soldiers had out stuffed animals, soccer balls, backpacks and other school supplies to local children during a medical operation in Baghdad’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public AffairsAt the crack of hope

Iraqi army soldiers had out stuffed animals, soccer balls, backpacks and other school supplies to local children during a medical operation in Baghdad’s Ghazaliyah neighborhood March 25. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)

An excellent write up by Spc. Ledesma! It is good to see the Iraq Army working side-by-side with our men and women, not just clearing the streets of terrorists, but also building hope and friendships with the local people.

Today as I take the baton for the RVF I will make my dedication all encompassing. God Bless the men and women around the world who are striving to make our planet a safer place to live. Give us strength to face our challenges, a resolve to reach out to others in need, and a keen awareness of those who mean to harm us. Keep our morale high and our focus sharp.

And most of all I ask that your guardian angels watch over our men and women who are in harms way.

Big hugs to all from this very Proud Cav Mom!!!

 

P.S. To my L’il Trooper… Can’t wait to see you!

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10 Responses to Not Just About Getting the Bad Guys:

  1. naj says:

    Ma’m, with all due respect, I need to ask you a question about your statement: “It is good to see the Iraq Army working side-by-side with our men and women, not just clearing the streets of terrorists”.

    How is it that when saddam was clearing the streets of Baghdad of Terrorists, he was considered a tyrant. Isn’t “killing” the ultimate evil? Have we given life, to decide we can take it?

    Ma’am; as I am writing to you, perhaps someone is considering your son to be an enemy; perhaps someone is planning to blow him up. and I am sure your son is just as innocent as the man he just wiped off the Baghdad street a few days ago.

    The man that your son kills has a mother too.

    This world will be safer, ma’m if we do NOT enjoy the blood of the other.

    I wish for the safety of your son, and the safety of my innocent father, mother, little nieces, who are the nest target of yoru mighty army.

    God bless.

  2. cavmom says:

    Naj ~ That is a very good question. One that I have often pondered myself. From reading my posts, one might get the impression that I enjoy war.

    This could not be further from the truth. I detest war. It pains me deeply to hear of the deaths of children. Yet, I continue to show my open support for the troops and their mission.

    It sounds contradictory… But, it is not. For I know only what is in my heart when I pray. And that is the peace I feel when I ask the Lord if we are moving in the right direction.

    I am sure my son is considered an enemy to those who do not see his actions as I do. All I can do is pray that their eyes will be opened and their hearts softened.

    The men and women in the United States military are not in Iraq to destroy lives. Unfortunately, innocents are caught in the middle. But, I know without a doubt that the Iraqi families will have a better way of life when the evil who wish them harm are removed.

    I do NOT enjoy the blood of others neither do our Soldiers. As you obviously know, our men and women are not in the habit of strapping on bombs and blowing up schools, mosques, and market centers which are full of women, children and hard working men.

    Our cultures are so very different and it is difficult for me to understand how a child can be sacrificed by a suicide bomber or used as a human shield. For a child is our most precious gift from God.

    I must believe that the evil is but a small fraction of the of the population in the Middle East. Deep down I feel most citizens must want the best for their child.

    Our goal is to help the families in Iraq so that the children can live long and happy lives. That they may have the freedoms to pursue a higher education and productive careers.

    I pray that they are allowed these freedoms. I also pray for you and your family as well as my son and the men at his side.

    I believe we all want the same thing in the end; long and happy lives for our families.

    God Bless

  3. Aussie_Chic says:

    Ok, I have a question….

    If the actions of the United States in Iraq are being questioned, why do so many Iraqi’s support their mission?? How many Iraqi civillians are now part of the Army and Police Force?? How many work for the Ministry of Defense??

    Cavmum, you were very restrained, I commend you for that.

    Naj, you freakin idiot, how dare you make mention of this womans son as a target?? Saying that you mean your words with respect does not make them respectful. If indeed you do live with the violence and your family are being threatened, you would know what it is like to live with this threat each day. If that were the case you might feel less inclined to make such comments.

    Saddamm wasn’t ‘cleansing the streets’ he was Ethnic cleansing. There’s a difference. Saddamm had no interest in a democracy, what he did is more commonly known as a Dictatorship.

    May I suggest that if you want to talk crap you do it on your own blogsite. This mother and her son believe in the mission he has undertaken and your attempts to negate her efforts will only bring about more support for them.

    And I do of course say this with all due respect….

  4. Tracy says:

    I’m not sure what fantasy world you live in, but as far as I know Saddam never cleared the streets of terrorists. Unless the mass graves of hundreds of innocent civilians our soldiers have uncovered were actually mass graves of terrorists? I don’t think so.

    If your family is innocent, then they are NOT the target of our Army. Our Army is NOT like Saddam. We do not go after innocents.

  5. yankeemom says:

    Naj – stay over at my place if you feel you have to stir up this stuff. CavMom doesn’t need it right now – she has enough with her son (and my adopted son) being in Iraq.

  6. cavmom says:

    Thank you peeps… With that, I am off to bake goodies for our Warriors. 😉

    speaking of peeps (now I know why that word is stuck in my head) check out this site!

    http://www.peepresearch.org/index.html

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. ChrisG says:

    I am writing this as I sit next to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MOD) in Baghdad.

    Naj, I know what filth and lies your mulahs and their henchmen tell you day after day after day. It disgusts me that so many in Iran believe them. I am heartened that more and more Iranians are attempting to bring down the theocratic dictatorship that is Iran. No Iran is NOT a democracy or a republic, it is a dictatorship where the mullahs decide who can ‘run’ for office. Communists and socialists do this.

    Now, back to Iraq. We have uncovered well over 1 MILLION mass graves. Most were filled with women and children that Saddam executed. He was not “clearing the streets of terrorists”, he was FUNDING the terrorists!! He was clearing the streets of anyone who he thought oppossed him or even just for fun (Uday did the latter quite often).

    Got news for you, the Iraqi People are DISGUSTED with Iran’s, Syria’s, SA’s, Jordan’s interferrence in their affairs. They support the USA and the Coalition of over 30 nations over the iranian terrorists and any others. The Iraqis are killing these terrorists themselves and are quite happy to tell us about it. These terrorists and the arms sent from Iran are KILLING Iraqi women and children and we “infidels” are defending the People of Iraq (of all sects) from the IRANIAN GOVERNMENT. Think hard on that. Then think what your Iranian leaders say when they spout their hat and lies.

    Meanwhile Iran insanely moves ahead in the production of nuclear arms and the continued prodding of the West into war. It is the IRANIAN GOVERNMENT that is committing acts of aggression against the West time and again. It is YOUR mullahs that scream “Death to America” and openly brag of plotting our destruction. That will not ever happen. We do not want war with Iran’s People. We never have. We have held back time and again with each provocation and act of terror from the Iranian government.

    It is past time for the proud People of Persia to rid themselves of the mullahs/islamofascists/dictators and their insanity and move into the 21st century.

    Or they can continue to let their government lead them along the path of devestation and ruin. It is a war Iran will lose.

  8. cavmom says:

    Chris ~ Thank you for stopping by and sharing your firsthand wisdom.

    It was pointed out to me that dissenters seem to crawl out and stir up garbage after major events unfold in the Middle East.

    Keep up the good work… You are in our prayers.

  9. Barb Renner says:

    The only ones who would consider my son to be an enemy are those who are fighting against the Iraqi people who want a free and democratic society.

    No member of the US military wants or enjoys war. They all fight against it and rejoice only when sound minds and policies prevent it. However, with the war in Iraq, we have neither sound minds nor polices as an enemy. We have only those who will kill scores of innocent people to ensure their narrowly interpreted religious beliefs are instituted.

    My son is in Iraq to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. If any one living in America today does not appreciate his sacrifice, LEAVE. no one is forcing you to be an American. But, if you choose to stay, do so because you believe in what we stand for…not because you choose to fight against us.

    God bless our soldiers and God bless the USA!

  10. cavmom says:

    Barb ~ That really is the truth. It is those who want to see Iraq crumble that are the enemy of our Troops.

    Prayers out to your son and those fighting at his side! 🙂

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