Abu Ghraib Orphanage Receives Food
BAGHDAD — U.S. and Iraqi Soldiers conducted a combined patrol through Abu Ghraib to deliver supplies, disrupt insurgents and foster relationships, June 25.
The area they patrolled is called the "1st of June," as Iraqis often name areas after significant dates in their history.
Leading the patrol was a platoon from the 24th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division. As a result of the agreement between Coalition forces and the Government of Iraq, all combat operations are now conducted jointly.
One of the goals of these joint operations is training; another is to show the people that there is a transition happening as Coalition forces begin pulling back.
Part of today's mission was to take a small step in attempting to improve those relationships.
Under the guidance of Company C of the 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment "Paxton Rangers," dozens of bags of beans, rice, canned meat, bottled water and other supplies were given to the Iraqi Army Soldiers. As they began their patrol, they stopped at a number of houses handing out the bags and holding brief conversations with the residents.
They were surprised as they came to an unofficial orphanage and were surrounded by kids.
"Finding an orphanage right away was really good," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Fox, 2-112th. "We were really able to help some needy people."
Medical issues were discussed and the location was marked in order to bring back supplies and a medic.
As is often the case, once word got around that things were being given away, a crowd gathered as the Soldiers came upon a medical clinic, little more than a small drug store next to a shop selling automotive fluids.
Stryker's and Iraqi Army trucks were set up around the area to provide security as Soldiers were sent in all directions in order to keep an eye out for a possible attack.
Dozens of bags of food were unloaded as people started coming from all directions. The Iraqi Soldiers kept order and quickly formed the people into a line. The residents thanked the Soldiers as they left. Within just a few minutes the food was gone.
"Well, it's important to help get the community back on its feet. We work with the Iraqi Army in joint patrols," said Sgt. Sean Rawlings, 2-112th. "We're kind of like role models. Seeing the kids is the best part. They're a lot of fun."
(By Sgt. Philip Schratwieser, 1st Infantry Division)