By Spc. Alexis Harrison, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsSeptember 24, 2007
BAGHDAD - Normally in a support role, you support ongoing operations with maintenance and logistics. You hardly ever get out in the streets to perform first-hand operations.
Troops from the Forward Support Company D, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, spearheaded a cooperative medical engagement involving several Coalition elements coming together September 20.
Soldiers from the "Defender" Company were joined with medics from Company C, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, troops from Company E, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment and Iraqi Security Forces from the 4th Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, who were all on hand to play their part for the larger mission.
This was the first mission of its kind for the support company. Normally, they are busy with duties like vehicle maintenance and logistical support for the Dark Horse Squadron on Forward Operating Base Prosperity in central Baghdad.
The Defender Company's commander, Capt. Nicole Vild, said that although the mission is a little different from the normal routines of her troops, it hasn't slowed them down any.
"My company is very flexible," said the Cleveland native. "The guys really love to come out and help whenever they can. This area has no representation from the government. It's a lot of refugees just living in shacks, so we thought we could come out and show a little love."
The goal was simple: set up and treat as many patients as possible while maintaining safety in Baghdad's Karkh District.
There was no clinic or even walls to the structure where the event was held. Iraqi and American Soldiers helped one another corral the people anxiously waiting to have one of their children or themselves seen by one of several medical practitioners.
This was also the first time the company got a chance to use its new mobile aid station - built from scratch by the Defender troops a few weeks ago. Once it was unloaded from the truck, it took just a few Soldiers about 20 minutes to set up and use it to give patients a little privacy while being examined by one of the several doctors.
Cooperative medical engagement is a literal term used for these types of events. American medics and physicians work closely with Iraqi doctors and medics from the security forces on hand. "One team, one fight," as one man put it.
Throughout the morning, more than 150 people were seen and treated for ailments like minor colds to old wounds from violence that once shook the area.
For one Iraqi woman who brought her daughter to get seen for a cold, it wasn't just about getting medicine. She said that the Americans and Iraqis who work to keep her neighborhood safe are very close to her heart. She also wanted to check to see if there was going to be any assistance with propane or food that day.
"This is about as hands on as you can get when bringing humanitarian aid to the local populace," said 1st Lt. Jean Hare, an Oakland, Calif., native with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4-9 Cav. "It feels good."
Hare said that many of the ailments are similar to regular symptoms some Soldiers seek care for when going to a troop medical clinic.
Along with the treatment came medicines and personal hygiene items like toothpaste, soap and baby wipes.