Strengthening bonds with medals, soccer
May 20, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq- Nine Iraqi Police in Kirkuk city received U.S. Army Achievement Medals, awarded by 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, May 14, at two IP stations in the city.
The first five awards went to IP who maintain safety of the city through effective
Lt. Col. Terry Cook, the commander of 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt., said it's vital that
the IP continue to work hard since insurgent activity within the city still exists. He cited
the case of a suicide bombers attempted attack at a local mosque thwarted by IPs.
The awardees are working to set an example for other members of the Kirkuk
police, and they are teaching themselves and us what it means to serve tirelessly, said
"They [IP] do this and they serve without asking to be recognized," Cook
explained. "These medals are our way of saying thank you, not just for what you do for
the city of Kirkuk, but also for helping U.S. military forces who work in the city as well."
The commander of the police within Kirkuk province, Maj. Gen. Jamal Tahir
Bakir, had a few things to say about these particular IP.
"I am very proud of everyone, especially these five," Jamal said. "Not just for
what they are doing daily, but also for what they have sacrificed for their city.
"I hope and believe that other IP are going to follow these five as an example for
how to serve and protect the city," he continued.
Jamal also took the chance to elaborate on how his policemen are responding to
the insurgency within the city.
"Terrorists who try to hurt us do not affect our morale," he explained. "Our morale
comes from doing our best to fight these insurgents, and we will not hesitate to sacrifice
ourselves for our service and our country."
With the support of various police and military agencies around the province, we
will defeat terrorism in Kirkuk, stated Jamal.
For the IP that received the awards, the event was a rare opportunity.
"I volunteered to be an IP so I could serve my country," said Sgt. Rafeeq Qadir
Khidir, a policeman in Kirkuk city. "We are doing our best and it is great that we are
After finishing the first award ceremony, Soldiers from 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.
moved to another station, where IP from the vehicle maintenance section were
"You work extremely hard, but you barely get recognized," Cook told the four
maintenance police officers. "You make it happen behind the scenes."
Cook said police missions could not get accomplished within the city without the
work of the police who maintain the vehicles.
"It is important to recognize anyone that is doing a good job," Cook continued.
"We let them know 'hey, you guys aren't going unnoticed.'"
Following the presentation of the awards, Soldiers from 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.
were treated to a friendly soccer match against their police counterparts.
"It was a great game," explained 1st Lt. Danema Fatha Zaneel, a maintenance
officer at the station. "It is great that U.S. military forces could reward these policemen,
and also make time to play soccer with us."
Although the Soldiers lost to the policemen 5-4, it was still a relationship building
experience on both sides.
"We are building camaraderie and relationships, and it is great that we get to get
out and have fun together," said Capt. Stephen Clark, the information officer for 3rd Bn.,
82nd FA Regt.
After the match, the Soldiers returned to Forward Operating Base Warrior and
the IP continued on with their work in the city, nine with a shiny new medal in their
pockets, and more with a victory on the soccer field fresh in their minds.