Iraqi Family accepts Sustainers generosity
Staff Sgt. Christopher Baxter, platoon sergeant, 353rd Transportation Company, 30th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, shakes hands with Khalif as his children pose with their new soccer balls, coloring books, and candy that Soldiers handed out during a pump house mission in Al-Qayyarah, Iraq, Dec. 12, 2008. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Baxter)

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE Q-WEST, Iraq - The soccer balls, clothes, books and candy were very different from the usual loads of heavy equipment, but the transportation Soldiers hauling the load were proud of the mission.

"Humanitarian duties are the most fulfilling to me," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Baxter, platoon sergeant, 353rd Transportation Company, and Belle Plaine, Minn., native. "These are the memories that I carry around for the rest of my life. This is my third deployment and the second one of the three where I have been able to do some humanitarian duties. This is what it is all about."

During a logistical mission, Soldiers from the 353rd Trans. Co., 30th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, took time to bring care packages to a Family who lives on the banks of the Tigris River Dec. 12.

Khalif, a middle-aged Iraqi man, invited several of the transportation Soldiers into his home, and introduced them to his Family. After some hot, sweetened tea, the Soldiers played with several of Khalif's six children.

Soldiers handed out boxes containing clothing, soccer balls, crayons, coloring books, candy, personal hygiene products, paper, and other writing supplies to Khalif's family.

They finished off their cultural adventure by showing off one of their favorite pastimes in Minnesota, by fashioning a fishing pole out of an antenna and string, and used paper clips as hooks, to attempt to catch a fish from the Tigris. While their endeavor was unsuccessful, they accomplished their mission to bring smiles to a few faces.

The 353rd Trans. Co. performs convoy sustainment operations by hauling water, fuel, and various other classes of supply in Multi-National Division North. Several missions have required the unit to provide logistical support by transporting equipment on their heavy equipment transport systems to a pump house along the Tigris River, near Al Qayyarah, Iraq.

STORY BY CAPT. JONATHAN ROACH, UPAR, 353RD TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, 16 SUSTAINMENT BRIGADE PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
FOR QUERIES, CONTACT 3D SUSTAINMENT COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT: ESCPAO@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL .
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