Medical Operation Highlights a Grass-Roots Effort at Building Trust
November 14, 2007
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq (Multi-National Corps-Iraq, Nov. 15, 2007) - A medical operation in Al Buaytha Nov. 7 helped coalition forces gain the confidence of local residents and demonstrated the community's great need for a medical facility.
It was no shock for medical personnel from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Stewart, Ga. to see a large group of people gathered at 8 a.m. on the morning of the medical operation, waiting to receive treatment. However, as the sun heated the nearby farm fields and noon approached, Soldiers at the slightly understaffed clinic were surprised to see the line for their services still growing.
The high turnout of community residents demonstrated a point that has not escaped coalition leadership: the need for a building where a medical facility can be established.
"Here in Arab Jabour, they don't have a clinic, pharmacy or anything like that," said 2nd Lt. Calvin Grubbs III, platoon leader for the 1-30th Inf. Regt.'s medical platoon.
At 11 a.m., with the event's scheduled end less than two hours away, the line of men, women and children did not seem to be dwindling.
Facing the prospect of extending the medical operation's hours to accommodate the crowd, Soldiers received a morale boost in the form of a group of visiting Iraqi doctors.
The Iraqi doctors, part of a contracted team of medical professionals, travel Iraq providing assistance to communities in and around Baghdad.
Though they arrived late, their immediate contributions made up for the delay.
"The Iraqi doctors definitely helped out a lot because they helped speed up the process," said Spc. Andrew Reynolds, a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div.
Spc. Reynolds said the guest doctors' process of screening patients was effective because they didn't have the language barriers coalition doctors faced.
A total of 238 people were evaluated and treated by the medical staff. Soldiers of Company C, 1-30th Inf. Regt. and Concerned Local Citizens contributed to the success of the operation by ensuring the safety of people attending the event.
By guarding roads and keeping antsy children occupied with soccer balls, both groups helped facilitate the eighth medical operation conducted in the Arab Jabour and Al Buaytha regions.
"This is my first time coming out here because I was with the scouts for the first half of the deployment, but now I'm with the aid station, so I get to come out on these more often," said Spc. Reynolds.
Though he prefers the "hands on," straightforward treatment of casualties in combat, Spc. Reynolds said the medical operation was a nice change of pace.