BAGHDAD (Army News Service, July 26, 2010) -- Operation Glory Outreach, a program designed to build trust between Iraqi Federal Police and the local population, commenced July 1 with a humanitarian aid mission in northeastern Baghdad.

As part of the responsible drawdown of forces, the Federal Police will soon be fully responsible for the security of their jurisdictions. Without the Americans to help them, they will rely on working relationships with local citizens to more effectively safeguard their lives.

Operation Glory Outreach was created to help foster these relationships and aid the policemen in their first attempts to work on their own.

First Lt. Andrew Hayden, 3rd Platoon leader assigned to Battery A, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, was present for the first Glory Outreach mission and said he was pleased with the Iraqis' performance and felt the citizens agreed with him.

"The locals were happy with the outcome," said Hayden, a native of Springboro, Ohio.

Mistrust had been a problem in the Beladiyat area of Baghdad in the past, but Hayden said it seemed to disappear once they arrived with soccer balls and food, with an estimated 250 citizens showing up to receive the gifts.

Everybody loves receiving free items, Hayden added, so humanitarian aid missions are the simplest way to begin building relationships. He said his battalion plans to help out with similar missions in different neighborhoods within their operational environment, assisting different brigades within 1st Federal Police where they are needed.

One 3rd Platoon artillery gunner, Sgt. Corey Monroe, said the kids were especially excited about the soccer balls. The Gainesville, Fla., native agrees that these missions build closer bonds between Iraqis and their security forces.

"It brings joy to my heart to see [the local populace] getting the help they need," Monroe said.

With each successful mission, the Iraqi Security Forces continue to prove their skills, according to Hayden, and security has improved thanks in part to their efforts: "These guys are getting better every day."

Hayden said he hopes his Soldiers will soon have very little to teach their replacements and even less to teach their Iraqi counterparts soon, keeping the Iraqis on the right track for a smooth transition toward an Iraqi-led mission in northeastern Baghdad.

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