By Pfc. Sharla Perrin, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsMay 20, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, MOSUL, Iraq - In an effort to further legitimize the Iraqi Security Forces, B Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division provided security for 1st Bn., 7th Bde., 2nd Iraqi Army Div. while they conducted a humanitarian aid drop May 9 in the western Mosul neighborhood of Domiz.
The drop provided 75 bags of dried goods to families in the area to kindle feelings of trust and confidence between the Iraqi Security Forces in Ninewah province and the communities in which they work.
"Today we pulled security for the Iraqi Army while they handed out food to the locals," said Spc. Jason Simmons, with 1st Platoon of B Co. "These kinds of things are good because they see the IA working hand in hand with us."
"It boosts their opinion of them," he said.
1st Plt. provided external security for the quiet morning. As two lines developed, one for men and the other for women, the IA Soldiers began organizing themselves, deciding who would secure the area, who would search those waiting in line and who would actually pass the food to the locals.
A table was set up nearby where a Soldier sat and checked ration cards to determine the number of bags per household.
Coalition Forces have taken a back seat in operations throughout the province in recent months, as evidenced here. The Soldiers of B Co. provide support only by invitation from the ISF to ensure their counterparts are interacting with the communities in which they work.
"Really, my Soldiers did as little as possible," said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Trujillo, the platoon sergeant. "They just provided security for the Iraqi Soldiers who passed out the actual food."
Projects such as this one demonstrate how the ISF in Ninewah province have improved since the final surge of Coalition Forces in 2007. To the troops of B Co., however, these projects are the light at the end of the tunnel.
"It shows my Soldiers that we are getting ready to pull out of here," Trujillo said. "We're turning things over to the IAs, which everybody is happy about because we're all ready to go home."