CAMP TAJI, Iraq - In an effort to provide local residents extra comforts during the winter months, Soldiers, here, are stocking warehouses full of humanitarian aid items.

For troopers from 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, providing aid to the local population is an opportunity to cross-train their Iraqi counterparts on civil military operations.

"We're going to coach, teach and mentor the 37th Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division on proper civil military operations," explained Capt. Matthew Hopper.

"We're going to count on our [ground units] to identify the families in need to provide [humanitarian aid]," said Hopper, a native of Little Rock, Ark. "The guys on the ground are working and interacting with the local people on a daily basis, so they know what areas need the most help."

The battalion has a warehouse filled with over three thousand water filtration systems and five thousand blankets. The battalion's maneuver elements that partner with the Iraqi Army have free access to the warehouse so they can distribute the aid on routine patrols.

"There will be multiple humanitarian operations and drops in the coming weeks," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Lien, the civil military operations noncommissioned officer in charge for the battalion.

"We want to provide the locals with adequate, clean and potable drinking water, as well as a means to keep warm during the cold winter months," said Lien, from Whitewater, Wis.

By partnering with their Iraqi counterparts during the humanitarian aid missions, the U.S. Soldiers help strengthen relationships between Iraqis and the Iraqi army, added Lien.

"By providing the people things they need, the Iraqi army will continue to build the trust they have with local residents," said St. Louis native, Spc. Daniel Brindell. "It's a good opportunity for the Iraqi army to help foster relationships with the people they protect."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16