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Soldiers relax, picnic with Iraqi friends
U.S. Forces Iraq ^ | Pfc. Jessica Luhrs, USA

Posted on 05/10/2010 5:45:45 PM PDT by SandRat

KIRKUK - Fridays are considered a day of rest for Iraqis, when they traditionally spread out blankets to enjoy good food and company.  U.S. Soldiers were invited to join their Iraqi counterparts for Friday relaxation during a picnic here at Dibbis Dam, May 7.

Leaders of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, out of Fort Bliss, Texas, enjoy a picnic with their Iraqi Army partners at Dibbis Dam, near Kirkuk, Iraq, May 7, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs.

The day was filled with food, jokes, stories and no business, according to 1st Lt. Ali Mohammed Ahmed, an intelligence officer with 2nd Battalion, 49th Iraqi Army Brigade.

One particular story told by Ali recalled Iraq’s dark history and expressed what he hopes is the bright future for the area.

“Dibbis Dam was once an area not open to anyone, until after 2003,” he said.  “After 2003, my Soldiers began guarding the dam and for the first time saw the water.

“After we knew the area was secure it was opened to the public and now on the shore is always lined with families enjoying the water.  This is very good for the families in the area,” Ali continued.

Capt. Spencer Timmons, a native of Deming, N.M., and commander of Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, agreed with Ali, stating, "Iraq is changing, and it is a good change."

When the fresh fish, vegetables and chicken were cooked, Lt. Col. Charles D. Mills, commander of 2/3rd FA, Command Sgt. Maj. James Daniels, command sergeant major of 1-1 AD, Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Cortez, command sergeant major of 2/3rd FA, IA leadership and 2/3rd FA Soldiers sat down together, on a cliff next to the water to enjoy dinner.

At the end of the day, Timmons said the picnic was great and helped strengthen the partnership.

First Lt. Rashwan Salih, executive officer for 2/49th IA BDE, agreed. "We are already partners," he said. "We go on many patrols and missions together; we also want a friendship with our partners and with events like the one today we'll build that."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: friends; frwn; iraq; iraqi; picnic; relax; soldiers

1 posted on 05/10/2010 5:45:45 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: MozartLover; Old Sarge; Jemian; repubmom; 91B; HiJinx; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; ...
If you would like to be added to / removed from FRWN,
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2 posted on 05/10/2010 5:46:11 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat

Interesting to see how times have changed. I was in and out of kirkut in 2004 and did not see one picnic table.

3 posted on 05/10/2010 7:42:58 PM PDT by jesseam (Been there, done that)
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