Iraqi, Coalition Troops Join Forces for Civil-Military Operations
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq, Oct. 14, 2008 Iraqi and coalition forces conducted three simultaneous civil-military cooperation missions in Hayy, Iraq, Oct. 9.
Army Capt. (Dr.) Nkemakonam Okpokwasili, a 41st Fires Brigade physician, confers with an Iraqi doctor about a girl’s condition at a combined medical effort in Hayy, Iraq, Oct. 9, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Operation “Hayy Day” included a combined medical effort, a humanitarian assistance visit at an elementary school and a visit to the mayor’s office.
Doctors from the 41st Fires Brigade and El Salvador’s Cuscatlán Battalion 11 worked with Iraqi doctors from the Shahed Dr. Ferez Hospital during the medical effort.
“This is a joint program between the Ministry of Health and coalition forces, and working with them helps to get rid of old barriers,” said Dr. Maher, director of health for Iraq’s Wasit province.
Coalition doctors shared current medical techniques and treatments with the Iraqi doctors while they treated and provided medicine to more than 260 citizens.
“Today’s activities are just an example of how the government of Iraq, along with the support of coalition forces, is making life better for the average Iraqi,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Italo Bastianelli, 41st Fires Brigade surgeon.
Meanwhile, Iraqi soldiers joined U.S. soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, and the 41st Fires Brigade’s civil affairs team for a visit to the Beirut Elementary School, where Iraqi soldiers and police distributed new school books to the children while the civil affairs team handed out 500 backpacks.
The third part of Operation Hayy Day was a visit by Iraqi army, Iraqi police and coalition forces leaders with local government officials.
Maj. Gen. Abed al-Haneen of the provincial police, along with Brig. Gen. Abed Jabir, commander of the 32nd Iraqi Army Brigade, and Army Col. Richard M. Francey Jr., 41st Fires Brigade commander, visited each part of the Hayy government’s operation, ending with the visit at the mayor’s office.
“At the school, you saw kids that have just started school, and it touches your heart to see their bright, smiling faces. At the hospital, you see kids with devastating illness, and that same heart that was happy is now torn,” Francey said. “I wish my doctors could fix it all, but I guarantee that they’re not short of a caring heart.”
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson serves in the 41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office.)