Iraqi Army, Coalition forces remember fallen heroes through sports day
May 27, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq- "Jamban Lej Jamb!" This Arabic phrase, which means "side-by-side," describes the goal for effective partnership that was adopted by the 4th Motor Transport Regiment, 4th Iraqi Army Division and Soldiers of 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
In keeping with the motto, Iraqi and BSB Soldiers honored the fallen heroes of the U.S. Army during a sports day event on Memorial Day, May 25.
"We are here to commemorate the lives that were lost. Take this example, any family that needs support from other family members during a hard time will receive what they need; this is the same way we are treating our American family-we are here today to support them," said Sgt. Maj. Abid Hussen Raheim, sergeant major, MTR, 4th IA Div.
The Iraqi MTR partners with the BSB and both mutually benefit by learning each other's logistical support procedures used for their respective battalions. The BSB's sports day was designed to build and showcase existing relationships through competitive sports events such as soccer, softball, volleyball and ultimate football.
"Today was to foster partnership between 4th MTR and 325th BSB-we did this with a Memorial Day remembrance-to share this day the same way we would back in the states, to merge our culture with the Iraqi culture, sharing this important day," said Maj. Joseph Ritter, executive officer, BSB.
"We shared a moment of silence for our fallen Soldiers-in that silence a moment of strength was shown between both countries where the Iraqis showed their respect for our honored Soldiers-this was truly inspiring to see our countries come together," he continued.
The sports day was yet another way the BSB and IA have created stepping stones to improve relations, according to Ritter.
"We started off with a soccer match, later we had a little American football match, and we are ending the event with a feast and a presentation of awards to our Iraqi counterparts. This will give us a chance to get to know them more as individuals and vice versa," said Master Sgt. Gregory Binford, acting sergeant major, BSB.
He explained that the sports event also gave ample opportunities for U.S. Soldiers to build stronger ties with Iraqi Soldiers.
"I am truly happy to see Iraqis and U.S. Soldiers participating in combined events such as these-this is truly making us appreciate our relationship as friends," said Iraqi Cpl. Ali Sabbar Kadim, Iraqi Soldier, 4th IA Div.
Whether by conducting side-by-side patrol operations, or commemorating Memorial Day, both forces have decided to truly combine activities to ensure that the fostered relationship goes deeper than work, and evolves more into family ties.