Skip to comments.Iraqi troops lead joint medical effort in Hor Al Bosh
Posted on 07/18/2007 6:54:24 PM PDT by SandRat
BAGHDAD Troops from 3rd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division (Mechanized), led a combined operation with Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment to bring medical care to the people living in Hor Al Bosh, Iraq, July 15.
During the event, more than 400 local citizens were treated at a local school for, primarily, minor ailments. Iraqi Army medics, an Iraqi Army doctor from the 4th Brigade, 9th IA Div., several medics and physicians assistants from both 2nd Bn., 8th Cav. Regt. and Charlie Medical Company, 115th Brigade Support Battalion treated everything from minor burns to colds, ear infections, headaches and cuts.
Occasionally patients arrived with major injuries or ailments such as major heart conditions as well as a child who had a severe form of spina bifida, a genetic neurological disorder.
What were doing here is basically like a sick call for local residents and for anything beyond those capabilities theres a system by which we can refer them to hospitals, said U.S. Army Maj. James Rice, physician assistant for the 2-8 Cavalry, who hails from San Antonio, explaining that there is a program for treatment sponsored by the Iraqi Ministry of Health.
For major illnesses local residents can fill out an information sheet, which they are enrolled in a consultation program, referring them to a larger hospital in Iraq or outside Iraq to a neighboring country, Rice said.
Obviously theres an overall contribution to our mission by doing things like (the joint medical effort) to help build relations with the locals and it lets them know that were not about violence, but rather about helping people, said Rice. One of the most important things that weve been doing has been working closely with the IA medics and the IA doctor here, and this is an important step towards handing over this mission to them so they can transition -- and the only way for that to happen is for them to take the lead, and get out here and do these types of things.
After the patients had been seen and picked up their medication, they were taken to a room where Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers gave them gifts such as blankets, and toys and candy for their children.
I love helping the people, especially the children, more than anything, said U.S. Army Spc. Samuel Lochabay, a medic with Headquarters Company, 2-8 Cav., who hails from Conroe, Texas.
Helping kids is great, since I have four of my own. So I really dont mind doing this, because the majority of people we see are children, said U.S. Army Sgt. Mark Avila, medic, HHC, 2-8 Cavalry, and a native of Las Vegas. Its nice to see how much the people here appreciate what were doing to help them. An 80-year old Iraqi woman gave me a hug and thanked me. It really lets you see how much our sacrifices really mean.
Working with Iraqi Army medical personnel has also been an experience that the U.S. Soldiers said they have enjoyed.
Theyre really a lot of fun to work with, weve built a lot of camaraderie with them, joking with them and theyre coming along really well, said Lochabay. Theyre a lot better trained than when we first began working with them, and soon theyll be able to take over for themselves. Theyre also showing a lot of enthusiasm for their jobs.
Its been really good getting the experience of doing this with the IA medics, said Avila. (Having) the Iraqi people actually seeing their own people take the lead in providing health care is another positive step forward for the Iraqi army.
As Iraqi Army and U.S. Soldiers worked to help heal physical ailments, U.S. Army Capt. Scott Hequembourg, commander, Company A, 2-8 Cavalry, said his Soldiers and the IA troops who patrol together in Hor Al Bosh every day have also been working to help heal societal rifts caused by sectarian violence by helping to take terrorists off the streets and building relationships with villagers. Hequembourgs troops and their IA counterparts aided medical personnel with the joint medical effort.
Some of the positives here are that the locals have become a lot more friendly to us and weve been working with the people here to get shops opened back up again, said Hequembourg, who hails from Jefferson City, Mo. Were also working several projects to improve situations with power and water.
These humanitarian efforts dont just help the Iraqis, the company commander added.
For our Soldiers, it gives them the opportunity to see the human side of Iraqis that not all the people here are bad or are insurgents, said Hequembourg. Theyre seeing more and more that there are mainly good people here who just need help to get their country back on its feet. The Soldiers understand that what theyre accomplishing here really is helping the people.
• Five months into Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon a senior leader with the Multi-National Division – Baghdad said Iraqi Security Forces have shown continued improvements since the operation began in mid-February.
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