Dear Interested Reader,
Our troops are most enthusiastic over a food stand that provides soldiers with a taste of Iraq at COP Apache. IA dentists partner with Marines and Sailors for the first cooperative dental engagement. Ramadi welcomes a brand new municipal building, as security strengthens. Iraqis take pride in constructing a drainage system for the Mudiq Medical Clinic, with Marines help. Special Group criminals captured, and weapons caches seized.
Aug. 31, 2008
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
Food Stand Provides Soldiers Taste of Iraq at COP Apache
Story and photo by Sgt. Philip Klein
Ronnie (left) and his cousin Kirk, chat with a guest at their falafel stand, Aug 26, 2008. They opened the stand to accommodate some Soldiers' desire to eat Iraqi food.
COP APACHE — Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers operating out of COP Apache now have another choice for meals in addition to the dining facility: The Falafel King. Ronnie, an Iraqi citizen who operates the small stand outside of the gym at this base in northern Baghdad, got the idea after being approached by Soldiers interested in eating Iraqi food. “They would always ask me, or other Iraqis working here, if they would go out to the city and buy food to prepare traditional Iraqi meals,” said Ronnie. “My uncle is a translator, so we contacted a few people to see what kind of set up we would need, what equipment and things like that, and we got started.”
Ronnie, who runs the stand with his cousin, Kirk, serves basic staples of Iraqi food, like falafels and kabobs, but has also expanded the menu to include American favorites, such as cheeseburgers and french fries.
“Business is good; we have been set up since, Aug. 11, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, since we are always here, we also feed Soldiers when they come back from a mission and might have missed meal time. Instead of eating a Meal Ready to Eat, we will cook up something for them,” said Ronnie.
Another positive result of the Falafel King is that it allows Soldiers to relax after a mission. It also provides the Soldiers the opportunity to spend time with local citizens and make new friends over a cup of chai. “For an Iraqi, if you sit down to talk, it is always done over a cup of chai, so we do the same here with our American friends,” said Ronnie.
For Staff Sgt. Jimmy Martinez, a section leader with Co A, 1st CAB, 68th Armor Regt, 3rd BCT, 4th ID, the Falafel King offers a break from the typical lunch time meals. “Usually lunch here is just self-serve sandwiches, but coming here breaks up the monotony of meal times; and whether I eat a falafel or have a burger and fries, it’s nice to have an option for something different,” said Martinez.
Ronnie said he is happy that the Soldiers seem to enjoy the opportunity to try a different venue for their chow and relaxation, adding that he also hopes that he can eventually use his new experience to springboard into something even more significant.
“I hope that one day I can go to America and open a restaurant that serves both Iraqi and American meals, and then I can serve customers both genuine Iraqi food and American food and, through food, bring our two cultures closer together,” Ronnie said.
IA partners with Marines, Sailors for first cooperative dental engagement
KABANI - Citizens of Kabani were treated to the first cooperative dental engagement hosted by the IA and the 1st Marine Logistics Group in Kabani, Aug. 29. Both Navy and IA dentists combined forces to treat more than 100 children and adults from the village.
The relationship Marines share with the villagers keeps coalition forces coming back to continue their support. Each time, more and more assistance is provided by the IA, who now handles most of the
security and screening of the events. With the addition of IA 2nd Lt. Ali, a dentist, their presence and assistance to the villagers is more noticeable.
The dentists examined patients all morning, pointing out cavities and other problems as well as teaching good dental hygiene. Floss, tooth paste, brushes and other supplies were on hand to distribute to the villagers.
With successful ops like the first CDE, it's only a matter of time before the Iraqis are in complete control of caring for their own.
HM3 Genevieve T. Narkis assists IA 2nd Lt. Ashraf Ali. Narkis, a 28-year-old, said she was glad to assist the Iraqi dentist with his examinations. "It's a good way to show them what we know works well and I hope it works well for them." She was also impressed with the relationship the villagers share with the Marines. "We'd open the door and kids are running around saying 'hello.' It's a good feeling."
(Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow)
Ramadi Welcomes New, Symbolic Municipal Building
Mahmoud Marre (left), a local Iraqi contractor, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Jett, a team leader with 1st Bn, 9th Marine Regt, RCT 1, look over the newly-reconstructed 17th Street Municipal Building in Ramadi, June 22, 2008.
Story and photo by Lance Cpl. Casey Jones
RAMADI — Citizens here, along with city and provincial leaders, came together to take part in the grand opening of the 17th Street Municipal Building, Aug. 24.
The municipal building, also known as the “Red Building” by the locals because of its distinctive color, will serve as the local govt’s city hall. The building will be occupied by the mayor, city council members, and other elected and appointed city officials.
“The building is symbolic,” said CWO 2 Eric Jett. “It’s a landmark; a keystone building in the center of Ramadi. It symbolizes to the locals that their govt is back on its feet.” The structure was severely damaged during fighting early in the war and needed extensive repairs to refurbish it. It was often used as a launching pad for attacks by insurgents.
“The building was hit by almost every type of munitions known to CF,” said Capt. Angel Torres, the comm. officer of Civil Affairs Detachment 2. “It was just a frame with a big hole in the middle of it.”
With the security gains in the region, the Iraqi people have embraced peace and have begun reconstructing their city. According to Obaid, the grand opening of the municipal building was a visible testament to the tireless efforts of the people of Ramadi and CF.
Iraqis Construct Drainage System for Mudiq Medical Clinic
Story and photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt
Citizens of Habbaniyah came together recently to improve a local clinic by constructing a drainage system, which will help with stagnate water that was collecting between the road and the Mudiq clinic.
HABBANIYAH — With violence in the region down nearly 80% from pre-surge levels in many areas, Iraqi citizens have begun focusing on economic development and essential services.
Two cement drains were built on both ends of a sloped section of ground directly in front of the clinic, forcing the water flow away from the entrance and into collection points. The need for such a project was brought to the attention of Marines with Co C, 1st Bn, 2nd Marine Regt, RCT 1, during meetings with the city council, community and IP.
Marines assisted the community in setting up a work force of Iraqis to plan and execute the construction of the sewage-like drainage system. “It is important to help give the Iraqi people an opportunity to better their community,” said Pfc. Joseph Blei, a 20-year-old team leader with Co C. “When they do projects like this it gives them a sense of pride knowing it was their planning that went into it,” he said.
Cooperation has become a trend in the relationship between CF and Iraqi citizens. Frequently, tribal differences are remedied by a common goal to bring advancements to a community for the betterment of its people. “You can see through the community’s hard work that progress is being made,” explained Blei. “It’s a big improvement from last year. There [is more] cooperation between tribes.”
“By working with the community we establish a rapport that increases operational success,” said Lance Cpl. Alan McAlister, a team leader with the co.
MND-B Soldiers detain suspected SG members
FOB FALCON - Soldiers from Co D, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, arrested a suspected
Special Group criminal (SGC) member in the Abu T'shir community of the Rashid district in southeastern Baghdad at approx. 11:15 p.m., Aug. 29. The individual is wanted for committing acts of sectarian violence against Iraqis and conducting an IED attack against CF.
Soldiers from the HHC, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 1st BCT, 4th ID, conducted a targeted raid and captured a suspected criminal in the Rashid district's Aamel community at approx. 12:15 a.m., Aug. 30.
"These Soldiers and Iraqi SF aggressively work in support of Op Ironhorse Blizzard to deny sanctuary to SG members. We remain committed to ensuring that the Iraqi justice system is served," said Maj. Dave Olson, 1st BCT spokesperson, 4th ID.
Tip leads MND-B Soldiers, ISF to weapons caches
FOB FALCON - Aug. 29, A concerned Iraqi citizen called Soldiers from Troop C, 7th Sqdrn, 10th Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID, to turn over possible bomb-making materials, consisting of bottles of liquid and a timing device to a COP. A coalition explosives ordnance team later confirmed that the box of assorted materials, which included acetone, were possible precursors to an IED attack.
Iraqi NP, acting on a tip from a local Iraqi citizen in the Bayaa community, seized a weapons cache of 2 mortar tubes, 8 120mm mortar rounds, 2 hand-held radios, 2 homemade IEDs, 3 EFP IEDs, one dual-array EFP, a block of TNT explosives, 3 rolls of copper wire and 200 rounds of 7.62mm ammo. They also discovered 3 flash cameras, miscellaneous wires and IED-making materials at the site.
Three girls try to control their excitement during an aid drop to the people of the industrial zone in Adhamiyah, Aug. 25, 2008. While U.S. Soldiers provide security, the IA distributed 400 food packs, 200 backpacks, 200 soccer balls and 200 pencil sets.
Photo by Sgt. Philip Klein, 3rd BCT, 4th ID