Improving security and building connections
October 27, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq - As U.S. Forces continue to step back from their once prominent role in the city of Kirkuk, Iraqi policemen within the city are reaching out to their neighbors to ensure the people of Kirkuk know that security forces will always be there to help.
IP from the Nasser neighborhood of Kirkuk city, supported by Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, delivered 105 bags of humanitarian aid Oct. 24.
According to 2nd Lt. Waleed Khalid Muhammed, a policeman with the Aruba Police Station, the goal of this humanitarian aid drop is to show their community the community that the IP understand their problems and are available to assist them in their time of need.
If policemen give out bags of food, the people in the area are more likely to come to them and tell them about crimes that are happening because they like them more, he explained.
"We are at their service," he said. "We will both help each other."
"You give a bag of rice today, and tomorrow they might be telling you where a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device is," was how Sgt. 1st Class Willie Ashcraft, a Parkin, Ark., native and a platoon sergeant with 3rd Bn., 82nd Field Artillery Regt., 2nd BCT, put it.
Among the items delivered during the drop were: rice, flour, canned tomatoes, sunflower oil, shampoo, soap, lotion, razors, and various other household goods.
There are a lot of young families in this neighborhood, and this humanitarian aid drop gives them a helping hand, explained Ashcraft.
For the IP involved, this was not the first time delivering humanitarian aid within the city, and they are beginning to see the positive results of these types of operations.
"We did this before," said Waleed, "and it helped improve the image of the police 100 percent."
"Recently as we travel with the IPs behind [our convoy] the little kids start waving at the IP," said Ashcraft. "That is a big change. Once children start waving at you, you are on the right path."
According to Waleed, another benefit of these missions is that they improve the image of the relationship between the IP and U.S. Forces. "They like to see us working together."
"It builds trust between all three of us," he said about the IP, U.S. Forces and the local community.
Humanitarian aid drops like this one take place throughout Kirkuk city on a regular basis and also happen frequently in smaller villages around the province.