By Spc. Chris McCann, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain DivisionFebruary 14, 2007
SADR AL-YUSUFIYAH, Iraq, Feb. 12, 2007 - In a country where poverty is endemic and many people are afraid to leave their homes because of terror threats, basic medical care can fall by the wayside.
The village of Sadr Al-Yusufiyah, Iraq, a mostly Sunni area near the Euphrates River, is no different, but the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment "Golden Dragons", 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) who live next to the village at Patrol Base Warrior have strived to help the local residents.
A medical operation held Feb. 10 at the clinic next to the patrol base was just one part of their mission to help.
"Today, we're helping the community by treating their sick and injured," said Pfc. Stephen Harris, a native of the Cayman Islands and a rifleman with Company B, 2-14th. "It makes me feel outstanding, knowing I'm helping and bettering this community."
Medics and doctors from both the Army and the local Iraqi community came to provide care as soldiers of Company B secured the clinic and searched each person who came in to ensure everyone's safety.
Almost 150 residents of the village were seen or treated for a variety of complaints, ranging from chronic problems to the usual sniffles and coughs that come with the cold, damp Iraqi winters.
While some of the local people may disagree with the soldiers' presence in the area, there were many smiles and thanks as they departed the clinic.
"I really think this (operation) will help change the opinion that the Americans are here for personal gain," Harris said.
Sgt. Asa Shaw, a native of Riverside, Calif., and a fire team leader with the company, agreed.
"We're providing basic medical care for them," he said. "Everything we can do to win hearts and minds helps, and it makes me feel good, knowing we're helping less fortunate people."
Staff Sgt. Chris Lopez, a native of Diamondhead, Miss., and a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-14th, treated several local residents during the operation.
"It's good to treat the women and children, especially," Lopez said.
"Helping someone's kid might stop them from setting that next improvised explosive device. What better way to help someone than by saving their lives'"