Winning the Hearts with Water

The continued humanitarian efforts of our men and women build bridges of trust with the Iraqi people! Time after time we are there to offer aid, to help those in distress. It is no surprise to me that the people are warming up to our Warriors.   1st Cavalry News

US, Iraqi Forces provide water to beleaguered western Baghdad neighborhood

By 1st Lt. Mike Gilotti
2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment
            BAGHDAD — It took a water crisis to give U.S. and Iraqi forces an opportunity to earn the trust of the residents in the western neighborhood of Shula in the Iraqi capital.  A portion of western Baghdad located in the Kadamiyah District stopped receiving water due to broken pipes from a failing water line. 
            The crisis, and the quick reaction by U.S. and Iraqi forces, helped them to gain trust among the residents.
            For more than nine months the Shula area patrolled by Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment from Fort Bliss, Texas, was an area where the Jaish Al-Mahdi militia members had significant control. 
            “Patrols tried to give people the understanding that if no one in the area helped to give up JAM terrorists, and if attacks continued, there was nothing [Coalition Forces] could do until the attacks stopped,” said Capt. Keith McCarty, the executive officer with Alpha Company.
            The water crisis changed that.
            “For a period of 48 hours there was no water and for weeks the situation regarding electricity continued to worsen” said Sgt. 1st Class Roberto Leon, a platoon sergeant for Alpha Company.
            Coalition patrols were approached by local citizens about the water shortage. When the troops delivered the needed water to the community, U.S. and Iraqi forces gained the support of the people. 
            Alpha Company coordinated for a humanitarian aid drop of bottled water for the people of Shula.  The mission was conducted jointly with the Iraqi Army and became an immediate attraction throughout the neighborhood.  Children cheered for the Soldiers and Iraqi men thanked the officers and noncommissioned officers of both armies.  Smiles were shared by everyone.  Over a two day period, the company continued this humanitarian aid effort. 
            “Locals approached the patrols and said that they saw it as a sign of offering and peace,” said Capt. Jim Walker, commander of Alpha Company. “That this gesture was a way of forward progress for Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security Forces, and the people of Shula to peacefully operate and mutually co-exist.” 
            The company pushed the message that U.S. and Iraqi forces wanted to fix the water and electricity problems, but needed the community’s help.  Over the next few days, people began to approach patrols on friendly terms. 
            Residents said they blamed JAM for not fixing the problem and that the Americans were trying to help Iraqi citizens.  Patrols have been conducted daily with the Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division to show the people of Shula that both American and Iraqi troops were working to improve the situation. 
            “Alpha Company is now in the process of making more proposals for additional humanitarian missions and projects to continue this relationship with the local population,” said 1st Lt. Moonerah Lao, the 2-12th Cavalry’s public affairs representative.  “The company’s efforts are truly making the difference in this war by clearly displaying the message that Coalition Forces are here to help and protect the people.” 

Spc. Michael Renfro keeps an eye on the crowd as Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment pass out water in the Shula neighborhood of western Baghdad. (US Army photo by 1st Lt. Mike Gilotti, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 12th Cavalry Regiment)

Spc. Michael Renfro keeps an eye on the crowd as Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment pass out water in the Shula neighborhood of western Baghdad.  (US Army photo by 1st Lt. Mike Gilotti, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 12th Cavalry Regiment)

An Iraqi woman carries away a case of bottled water from a humanitarian mission by Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment. The troops passed out water to residents of Shula, a northwest Baghdad neighborhood which has had a water crisis due to broken water mains. (US Army photo by 1st Lt. Mike Gilotti, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment)

An Iraqi woman carries away a case of bottled water from a humanitarian mission by Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment.  The troops passed out water to residents of Shula, a northwest Baghdad neighborhood which has had a water crisis due to broken water mains.  (US Army photo by 1st Lt. Mike Gilotti, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment)

Advertisements

8 Responses to Winning the Hearts with Water

  1. And you would know almost none of this from watching the major news networks. Gosh, makes you think that if we fought WWII with this media things might have turned out quite differently.

    BTW swing by my blog later, I think you will enjoy the latest post.

  2. cavmom says:

    That is a very scary (but true) thought.

  3. Tammi says:

    Hi CavMom,
    Like TT, I’m convinced that we wouldn’t have been able to win WWI and II with today’s MSM.

    I like the story — our troops are just heroes every way you look at them.

  4. cavmom says:

    Tammi ~ Unsettling to think where are nation would be today if the MSM was as liberal with their reporting during WWI and WWII.

  5. AMC says:

    Just wondering if this is J. Michael Gilotti from Connecticut

  6. cavmom says:

    AMC ~ I am not sure. I will send out an email and see if I can get an answer for you. 😉

  7. Mike Gilotti says:

    Yea im from Connecticut LOL

  8. AMC says:

    Hey! It’s Ashley from high school. I saw this article and wasn’t sure if it was you or not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: