BALAD, Iraq - Civil Affairs and medical personnel from Logistics Support Area Anaconda provided medical assistance to Bakra Village residents Wednesday.
Doctors, optometrists, dentists, physical therapists and physician's assistants provided basic medical care to more than 130 residents during a Medical Civil Action Project mission.
It was the second one arranged by the 13th Corps Support Command Civil Affairs staff. The staff plans to continue the missions in the villages near the base.
Officials say the missions are an integral part of improving the villagers' quality of life as they transition to a free and democratic society.
AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq - Marines continued their support of communities throughout the Al Anbar province with recent deliveries of supplies and the employment of Iraqis.
Marines recently visited the Al Tash refugee camp south of Ramadi and delivered medications and medical supplies to the camp clinic. Marines also delivered two 30,000-gallon water bladders to alleviate water shortages there.
They also delivered 600 uniforms and boots to the Fallujah Brigade and medicine to the Nassir Wa Al Salaam Clinic near the city.
Employment for the people of Fallujah with Marine-led projects continues to climb. Two more contractors were recently brought in for the Fallujah Cleanup and Restoration initiative, making a total of 1,960 citizens employed in Coalition Forces projects, including the 1,700 members of the Fallujah Brigade.
Marines also went to Al Kharma to visit with city directors and initiate several contracts. The contracts will correct water and sanitation problems in the city.
By Sgt. Dan Purcell and Pfc. Erik LeDrew, 122nd MPAD
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- “This is just the first step in a long road we will share together, to improve the people’s lives in Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Gary J. Volesky, commander 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force 1st Armored Division, during reopening ceremonies for a neighborhood clinic in Sadr City March 27.
With a medical staff consisting of a doctor, a pharmacist and three nurses, the clinic serves a neighborhood of 4,500 people, said Capt. Jeff L. Hembree, Alpha Company, 478th Civil Affairs Battalion commander.
Once known as Saddam City, Sadr City is named for the Imam Mohammed Sadr, an Iraqi religious leader killed by Saddam Hussein. According to estimates, there are about two million people living there in a six-square mile district, about as many as there are living in Houston, Texas.
The clinic is located one of Sard City’s more impoverished neighborhoods.
“Proper medical care for Iraqis is a high-priority,” said Hembree. “We only had to come out here to Sadr City to realize that improving this clinic would have a positive impact on the community.”
About $10,000 was invested into the clinic, he said. The clinic was closed for about six weeks for renovations, obtaining supplies and staff training.
Groundwork for the clinic’s renovations was started by a German non-governmental organization, called Anamur.
“My Civil Affairs guys have been working with Anamur on this. You need to give them credit because they were the ones who came in and really started this foundation,” said Volesky. “We’ve just expanded on it.”
Volesky said the existing work on the clinic was expanded by hiring Iraqi contractors to work on the refurbishing project.
“Our Civil Affairs guys developed the project by looking at what the Germans had done and developed plans to expand it in order to work with local contractors to try and create employment for the people who are unemployed,” said Volesky. “This engages the Iraqis and gets them involved in improving their own infrastructure.”
Doing this fosters the goodwill of the people and helps build confidence, he said.
“This lets them say that they’re getting back on their feet,” Volesky said. “They can say, ‘This was built by the Germans with help from the coalition, but it was really the Iraqis who put the final touches on it’.”
Humanitarian projects such as this will be carried on into the future, Volesky said.
“We will be focusing on the basic needs of the people: food, water, electricity and trash (removal),” said Volesky. “I will maximize every resource I have because those are the things that really have an impact on the people when they see it. They are most important.”
According to Volesky his unit’s priority is to maintain and build upon the secure environment that the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment provided for the community over the course of the last year.
“We will take it to the next level and start to show the Iraqi people that the coalition is working with the Iraqis to improve their conditions day to day,” Volesky said.
The units are not just focused on the short term, he said. The goal for all of the projects is to successfully integrate Iraqis into the planning process, so that they can then take the projects and determine the long-term solutions on their own.
“The biggest goal for us is two-fold,” Volesky said. “One: Show the people we really do care about them and that everything we said we are going to do, we will do. Two: Take the Iraqi institutions such as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, the police and the government, and develop those systems so that they can become self-sufficient.”
By Cpl. Benjamin Cossel, 122nd MPAD
BAGHDAD, Iraq –Students of the city’s 14th of July Girls’ School received an unexpected gift when Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, handed out 500 backpacks loaded with school supplies, candy and other items.
As part of an on-going effort to reach out and work within those communities in their area of operations, commanders look for locations where the United States can best provide civil assistance.
“We were constantly receiving emails from friends and family members back home wanting to know what they could do to help out,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Campbell, the battalion civil-military liaison NCO (S-5). “We worked with the area council members and identified an easy and affordable means by which they (friends and families) could help.”
Located in the Rusafa district of Baghdad, The 14th of July School, an all girls school, is part of the battalion’s neighborhood.
“This was a win-win type situation,” Campbell said, “family members were able to be involved and we were able to give something back to the community in which we live.”
Speaking through a translator, Lt. Col. Charles Sexton, the battalion’s commander, led the students in a chant of “S-C-H-O-O-L” and held a competition to see which class was the loudest.
The class deemed the loudest received their new backpacks first.
“We all know how important school is, and we all know how important it is that you have the right supplies to be able to complete your studies,” said Sexton. “And, that is why I am proud to present to you this little gift from the Soldiers of the 1-36, “Spartans,” and the American people.”
Being the fourth visit to area schools, Soldiers of the 1-36 have delivered about 400 backpacks per school bringing the distribution total to 1,500, Campbell said.
The pupils often let excitement get the better of them, much to their teachers’ dismay. Ignoring calls to stay within their assembled groups, children asked the Soldiers for autographs and to have their picture taken with them.
“I love the American Soldier, they are beautiful. I love what they do for us,” said one student as she stood in line.
“As I look out on this group of outstanding students, many of you reaching an age where you will soon be going on to college, I’m happy to say that you are taking a step into a new future for Iraq,” said Col. Pete R. Mansoor, 1st Brigade Combat Team commander, “a future where all will be able to receive an education no matter their race, religion, creed, or gender.”