By Pfc. Terence Ewings, and Capt. Kevin Wolfe, 4th BCT, Public AffairsOctober 28, 2008
Contingency Operating Base Garry Owen, Iraq - Scrambling for the ball, the two men collided, both focused on the mission at hand Oct. 23. The man in red, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 38th Brigade, 10th Iraqi Army Division, came to his feet first and dashed toward the soccer ball, while his blue clad opponent, a member of the Abu Rummanah District All-Stars, could do nothing but watch. The IA soldier drew his leg back, kicked the ball past the goalie, and the referee yelled, "goal!" "We are doing good things here for the people in this province," said Lt. Col. Huseiu Abdfileih, an officer from the 3rd Battalion, 38th Brigade, 10th Iraqi Army Division who helped coordinate the soccer game. The American Soldiers, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, along with nearly 400 Amaran citizens, gathered to watch the first soccer match on the newly built field. "We wanted to be here with these people," said Lt. Col. Bohneman, the Commander of the Garry Owen troops and a native of Bronx, N.Y. "It's important to show that we are partnering with them in something other than combat operations." The Garry Owen and IA soldiers have formed a partnership to stop illegal weapon smuggling along the southeastern Iraq-Iran border. But on this day, you could barely here the official whistle over the cheering and applause, as the American Soldiers showed their support for their Iraqi counterparts. "Today we are not only dedicated to providing security to the people of Amarah, but also focused on rebuilding our communities," said Abdfileih. Ali Aweid Abd Al Sa'ada, the goalkeeper for the Abu Rummanah team, said the new soccer field is good for the community because it gives the young people a safe place to gather and hang out. There was no official score or time clock during the event, because the real "goal" was to show how the Iraqi and American Soldiers are improving the city of Amarah through partnership.