By Pfc. Justin Naylor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry DivisionApril 28, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Kirkuk, Iraq-A U.S. Army Soldier who has served in the Army for some time has probably received an award. These awards are presented for various reasons from exemplary performance in their job or perhaps for an act of valor during a combat mission. But for Iraqi Police in Kirkuk, Iraq, however, awards are much less common.
For 21 Iraqi Police in Kirkuk, a symbol of recognition for their hard work and dedication came in the form of Army Achievement Medals presented by 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, known as "Red Dragon," during an award ceremony in Kirkuk, April 8.
According to Army regulation, the AAM can be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States, or to any member of the Armed Forces of a friendly foreign nation, who while serving in any capacity with the Army distinguishes himself by meritorious service or achievement.
"This was an opportunity to recognize the Iraqi Police that operate in Kirkuk city who go above and beyond their duties," said Lt. Col. Terry Cook, the commander of 3rd Bn., 82nd FA. "They have answered the call to defend the freedoms and liberties of their country, and in so doing, have provided security to the Soldiers of the 'Red Dragon' Battalion."
This was the first time that the "Red Dragon" Bn. has presented awards to the IP since they began working alongside them in Kirkuk nearly 3 months ago.
There is a good reason we have had only two U.S. military servicemembers injured in Kirkuk city since we arrived here, and that is the policemen who work on the streets to ensure the safety of their city, said Cook.
"I love all of my work," said Commissioner Mahdi Saleh Wakmash, an IP from Kirkuk.
It's an honor for us to receive an award for serving and protecting our country; it's a big motivation for us, said Wakmash.
The police in Kirkuk city have many responsibilities within the city they serve, and much is asked of them.
They [IP] help keep the streets clean, serve warrants, find improvised explosive devices and take part in joint operations with 3rd Bn., 82nd FA, among other things, said 2nd Lt. Robert Haynes, a Nitro, W.V. native and a personnel officer with 3rd Bn., 82nd FA.
They do outstanding work at keeping up the security in Kirkuk city and partnering with the "Red Dragon" Battalion, said Haynes.
For the 21 honored police officers, this was a reward for the hours of work they put in making Kirkuk city a better.