By Pvt. Christopher McKenna, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)January 14, 2008
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq - Gloomy weather did not deter Iraqi doctors, Iraqi Army medics and Coalition Forces from holding a coordinated medical engagement in Abu Farris, Iraq, Jan. 12.
A total of 665 citizens from four tribes in the surrounding area were treated for medical and dental issues at the CME. Coalition Forces supervised the event, which was run by the IA with seven teams of Iraqi doctors. "It was pretty much hands off for us, because the Iraqi Army did an extremely good job," said 1st Lt. Michael Podojil, fire support officer for Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Dr. Anwar Abbas, with the Iraq Ministry of Health, treated nearly 180 patients himself. "It is nice to see the Iraqi people meet together and, as a doctor, I give my best to help and treat the people of my country," Abbas said.
This was the first CME in the area since the beginning of the troop surge in 2007. "For this to even occur it took two months to coordinate the air travel for the doctors and to make sure the needed medical supplies and doctors would be present," Podojil said. Abbas said the preparation and coordination paid off. "Coalition and Iraqi forces provided a good environment to achieve such a peaceful mission," Abbas said.
Podojil said these types of missions build citizens\' confidence in their government and the Iraqi Army. "This is showing the Iraqi people that we are here to support the Iraqi Army, and that the Iraqi Army will continue to be here to support them," Podojil said. "It also shows that their medical system can work, and that they will be able to get support medically from their government.
"We have been hand-in-hand with the Iraqi Army, we have their support just they have ours, and this CME is just another example of where we come together and help the community of Abu Farris," Podojil said.