United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DoD News

Bookmark and Share

 News Article

Soldiers Secure Piece of Iraqi Religious History

By Army Spc. David Hodge
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq, May 14, 2008 – Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team are safeguarding a piece of Iraqi religious history while operating from a combat outpost next to a Christian-based seminary in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers provide security outside the main chapel of the St. Peter Seminary of Chaldean Patriarchate in the predominantly Muslim community of Abu Tshir, Iraq. The chapel represents a piece of Iraq’s cultural history in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Steve Stover, Multinational Division Baghdad
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The soldiers of Troop B, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, ensure the preservation of the seminary, college and chapel that encompass the St. Peter Seminary of Chaldean Patriarchate in the predominantly Muslim community of Abu Tshir.

“Due to the proximity of the seminary to the COP, it became necessary to conduct clearance operations within the seminary and chapel to ensure it was not being used by criminals for attacks against coalition forces,” Army Capt. David Lombardo, Troop B commander, said. “Also, ‘Bulldog’ Troop conducts scheduled patrols within the seminary grounds to lock access points and prevent vandalism.”

The seminary opened in Baghdad in 1960; in 1991, the Pontifical Babel College for Philosophy and Theology was added to the compound.

“In 2006, coalition forces obtained permission from the Chaldean bishop in charge of the property to use the college as a patrol base,” said Lombardo, a native of Waynesboro, Pa. That year, the seminary had relocated outside the country and the college became a combat outpost for coalition forces.

U.S. forces found, collected and salvaged numerous religious artifacts, such as books and documents dating back to the 17th century, helping to preserve a piece of Iraq’s history, Lombardo said.

“We make sure all the religious valuables inside the church are safe,” said Army Pfc. Shane Nerenberg, a forward observer from Riverside, Calif., assigned to Troop B.

The soldiers said it is a duty they don’t take lightly.

“It’s an honor to be charged with the duty of securing the church,” said Army Spc. Michael Lavelle, a mortarman from Pittsburgh, assigned to Troop B.

Just as the previous four units that operated out of the combat outpost did, the Bulldog soldiers will continue to provide security in their operating environment and preserve a small piece of Iraq’s renowned history, Lombardo said.

(Army Spc. David Hodge serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team.)

Contact Author

Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq
Multinational Force Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Lt. Col. Troy Smith (left) speaks with Army Maj. Gen. Jeffery W. Hammond, commander of Multinational Division Baghdad and 4th Infantry Division, about the main chapel of the St. Peter Seminary of Chaldean Patriarchate in the predominantly Muslim community of Abu Tshir, Iraq. The chapel represents a piece of Iraq’s cultural history in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. Smith is commander of 4th Infantry Division’s 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Steve Stover, Multinational Division Baghdad  
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe main chapel of the St. Peter Seminary of Chaldean Patriarchate in the predominantly Muslim community of Abu Tshir, Iraq, represents a piece of Iraq’s cultural history in Baghdad’s Rashid district of southern Baghdad. U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Hodge, Multinational Division Baghdad  
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe library at the Pontifical Babel College for Philosophy and Theology is preserved by the soldiers of Troop B, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multinational Division Baghdad, in southern Baghdad’s Abu Tshir community. U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Hodge, Multinational Division Baghdad  
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe main chapel of the St. Peter Seminary of Chaldean Patriarchate displays a cross atop its steeple in the Abu Tshir community in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. Soldiers from Troop B, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multinational Division Baghdad, use a section of the academic compound as a patrol base after the seminary relocated outside of Iraq in 2006. U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Hodge, Multinational Division Baghdad   
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution



Additional Links

Stay Connected