By Pfc. Terence Ewings, 4th BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.October 28, 2008
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GARRY OWEN, Iraq - Waiting in line, Ahmed al-Zahra, a local Iraqi citizen of Majarr al-Kabir, in southern Iraq, looked to his left and right as he observes the numerous people in front of him also waiting to receive their fair share of food.
He asked one of the Soldiers from the 10th Iraqi Army Division if there is enough food for everyone, considering he is clearly at the end of the line. The Soldier reassured Zahra that there would be plenty for everyone during the non-governmental organization food distribution by the al-Yaq Dha al-Thaka Pia Foundation Oct 25.
"The organization has a schedule and keeps records on all the poor families that could benefit from some additional help," said Zahra, who is the sole provider of his family of seven. "It's a huge benefit because we don't have the money to purchase food for our families."
Currently unemployed, Zahra finally made it to the front of the line where he was greeted by the Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
"I am very happy these Soldiers could be here to help out today," said Dan Foot, the Provincial Reconstruction Team Leader for Maysan Province. "I think this is a very positive step for us."
Foot said this is the first time Americans have been in this part of the Maysan province for a NGO food drop.
"Even though they had little American influence before today, they've accepted our smile and handshakes as if we were old friends," Foot said.
This is the second NGO food drop where the 4th Brigade Combat Team "Long Knives" of the 1st Cavalry Division have assisted the PRT in the four months the brigade has been deployed to southern Iraq.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Bohnemann, commander of the brigade's 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, believes the people of the Maysan Province appreciate the efforts of the coalition forces here.
"This food distrubition went well, just like the previous one," said Bohnemann, from Bronx, N.Y. "We are going to continue to do good things to improve upon the conditions for the people here."