Soldiers Patrol With Iraqi Police, Build Goodwill
By Pfc. April Campbell, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
HUSSEINIYA, Iraq, Feb. 29, 2008 Children swarmed around the men in uniform and extended their hands, eager to receive a newspaper. Although some of the children could not yet read, the colorful pictures were enough to ignite their curiosity.
Navy Lt. j.g. Clint Phillips (right), an Ontario, Calif., native, and 1st Lt. Dale Donaldson, a Bartlesville, Okla., native, walk down the street handing out newspapers with policemen in Husseiniya, Iraq, Feb. 26, 2008. Phillips serves as the team leader for Civil Affairs Team 11, Company B, 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 360th Airborne Civil Affairs Brigade, and is currently with the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multinational Division Baghdad. Donaldson serves as a platoon leader with 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1-68 AR. Photo by Pfc. April Campbell, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
If they could get through the crowd of children, the men would give one of the newspapers to an adult who happened to be out on the street. Whether they received it from an Iraqi or an American, a policeman or a soldier, the people were eager to hold the newspaper.
Police officers from the Ali-Salaam Iraqi Police Station and soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s Company B, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Multinational Division Baghdad, conducted a joint patrol here Feb. 26 to show a unity of purpose between Iraqi and coalition forces.
“We do dismounted patrols to show the Iraqi civilians and to show the Iraqi police that we are willing to work with them,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jacob Gomez, a Sacramento, Calif., native, who serves as a squad leader with 2nd Platoon, Company B.
While the Silver Lions brought the “Baghdad Now” newspapers, both the soldiers and the police passed them out to the residents. Ideally, the soldiers said, the joint effort will affect how the people view the two security groups.
“It’s good to … show the people that we are working together with the Iraqi police,” said 1st Lt. Dale Donaldson, who serves as a platoon leader with 2nd Platoon, Company B. “That way, we’re not the only ones (giving the papers out),” added the Bartlesville, Okla., native, “and they can associate the good things that happen with the police as well as us.”
Handing out newspapers to the people is one of the “good things” citizens see coming from the joint effort.
“It seems like they really like the newspaper,” Gomez said. “They always stop to grab some and, as they drive by, they stop and ask us for newspapers.”
For the area citizens, the newspaper is a window into the larger community of Baghdad to which they belong. Coalition forces are working with a local contractor to begin publishing a Husseiniya-centric newspaper.
When all the newspapers were handed out, the neighborhood children continued to follow the men in blue and the men in faded green as they moved up and down the street alongside each other.
“We are working together to make Iraq a safer place for the civilians,” Gomez said.
(Army Pfc. April Campbell serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)