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Cavalry Troops Open Mom & Pop Shop They Call CavMart [Baghdad]
Defend America ~ DoD ^ | Sept. 17, 2003 | U..S. Army Master Sgt. David Melancon

Posted on 09/17/2003 4:44:57 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl

Cavalry Troops Open Mom & Pop Shop
 They Call CavMart
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By U.S. Army Master Sgt. David Melancon
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BAGHDAD, Iraq – It is not the biggest retail store in Baghdad, but soldiers wearing every unit patch in the city have shopped at Camp Dragoon’s CavMart.

Set up in a former Iraqi army weapons storeroom, the CavMart boasts shelves stocked with heath care items, personal hygiene supplies, batteries, soft drinks and snacks.

And, coming just in time for the holiday shopping season, there will be a Christmas store stocked with traditional Western holiday gifts and decorations coupled with traditional Iraqi crafts and souvenirs, said store manager Master Sgt. Patrick Sanchez, chemical operations NCO, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment,

The 2nd ACR, based at Fort Polk, La., is attached to the 1st Armored Division for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Camp Dragoon’s 900-soldier population makes it too small for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to set up one of own retail outlets, Sanchez said. Instead, the exchange works with units to support smaller, soldier-managed stores in outlying camps. Soldiers run the stores, pick up merchandise and manage the money.

In addition to meeting soldiers’ basic shopping needs, the store had one other requirement. Sanchez said the regiment’s command sergeant major said, “Make it feel like it was in Des Moines, Iowa.”

“I’m from Kansas. I had it in my mind what I remembered from when I was a kid, Sanchez said.

So the troopers set about to open a store. After a long day’s work of cleaning, removing old ammunition and scrounging around the camp for shelves, the store was ready for its first load of merchandise.

The store’s name came naturally – they simply picked something that sounded good, he said. The U.S. Cavalry troopers called it CavMart.

“ I think now we’ve just about hit it,” he said. “Our soldiers like coming in here. I have regulars that come in on a daily basis. We try to run it like a little mom and pop shop.”

Conversation and a friendly atmosphere are just as important to the customers as the products on the shelves, he said.

“ I think soldiers feel good coming in here. It gives them a feeling of being back home,” he said. “We always try to keep a happy and cheery atmosphere because we know it is rough out there.”

The five soldier-salespersons, all members of the regimental chemical section, spend one week working in the regiment’s tactical operations center and the next working at the store, Sanchez said.

Photo, caption below.
Master Sgt. Patrick Sanchez, chemical operations NCO, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, discusses possible additions to what the store carries with translator Isameel Al Saffer, one of the store’s primary suppliers. Sanchez is the manager of the CavMart, a small store opened by the 2nd ACR troopers at Camp Dragoon in Baghdad.

There is more to running the store than just stocking shelves and running the till, Sanchez said. Supply runs to the main AAFES exchange on Baghdad International Airport start at 5:15 a.m. four days a week. Stocking, inventorying and managing the paperwork can keep soldiers working until 9 p.m.

The store may exist for soldiers’ convenience, but it also helps Iraqis, said translator Isameel Al Saffer, one of the store’s primary suppliers. The store resells Iraqi crafts and artwork made by local artisans. That puts money back into the re-emerging Iraqi economy.

“It helps the store get things that are unavailable through AAFES and it makes things good for Iraq,” he said.

Although they did not deploy to work as store associates, members of the chemical section are making a positive difference in soldiers’ lives, said Staff Sgt. Aretha Howard. The store is a great morale booster for soldiers. They appreciate efforts to bring in special items and the quality, friendly service.

“I deployed here thinking I was going to be doing great things with WMDs (weapons of mass destruction), she said. “When I got here, I had to change my thinking a lot. Things here at the CavMart are just as important.”

 


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: commerce; goodnews; iraq; mainstreet; rebuildingiraq; retail
 
 Thanks, Tonkin!


1 posted on 09/17/2003 4:44:58 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; Coop; Ernest_at_the_Beach; BOBTHENAILER; ...
In addition to meeting soldiers’ basic shopping needs, the store had one other requirement. Sanchez said the regiment’s command sergeant major said, “Make it feel like it was in Des Moines, Iowa.”

Flyover country, Baghdad!

If you want on or off my pro-Coalition ping list, please Freepmail me. Warning: it is a high volume ping list on good days (most days are good days).

2 posted on 09/17/2003 4:48:24 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ("I'm wondering how many chances he ought to get. I really am." ~ Rummy re. press, 9/16)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Thanks RC.

Neat story. Your doing a great job bringing us all the troop news!
3 posted on 09/17/2003 4:48:49 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Where's Apu?
4 posted on 09/17/2003 4:52:31 PM PDT by xp38
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl

"Cavmart? Is that with a 'C' or a 'K' ?"


Just kiddin'!

5 posted on 09/17/2003 4:56:45 PM PDT by mrsmith
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Excellent article - GOnna forward this to my dad, who was in the 1st of the 5th, 1st Cav (Airmobile). He'll get a kick out of CavMart :0)
6 posted on 09/17/2003 4:56:53 PM PDT by Chad Fairbanks ("I guess we got so focused on the rubber penis we didn't even pay attention to what he was saying.")
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To: xp38

7 posted on 09/17/2003 4:56:54 PM PDT by Normal4me
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To: wku man
Cavalry Ho!!!!
To "CAVMART" we go!!

Good thing the NCOIC didn't let the reporter look out back...
"wink"
8 posted on 09/17/2003 4:58:42 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (Shoot them if they stand. Cut them if they run.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Kind of reminds me of a quote from a great American, R. Lee Ermey, in the pretty-much lame film "On Deadly Ground", starring that bloated idiot Stephen Seagal.

Anyway, Ermey has one of the best quotes ever:

My guy in D.C. tells me that we are not dealing with a student here, we're dealing with the Professor. Any time the military has an operation that can't fail, they call this guy in to train the troops, OK? He's the kind of guy that would drink a gallon of gasoline so he could piss in your campfire! You could drop this guy off at the Arctic Circle wearing a pair of bikini underwear, without his toothbrush, and tomorrow afternoon he's going to show up at your pool side with a million dollar smile and fist full of pesos. This guy's a professional, you got me?

9 posted on 09/17/2003 5:12:53 PM PDT by mattdono
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To: mattdono
R. Lee. A great American.

Drop and gimme 20, you maggot!

10 posted on 09/17/2003 5:17:04 PM PDT by mattdono
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl; ALOHA RONNIE
Three Cheers for Capitalism!!!!

Garryowen, Ronnie.

11 posted on 09/17/2003 5:17:52 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (This is my tagline, this is my gun. One is for FReeping, one is for fun.)
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To: mattdono
I think we should draft R Lee for President...
12 posted on 09/17/2003 5:19:46 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: cavtrooper21

"Hey, Kelly! I got a case of Scotch that was supposed to go to the general...."

13 posted on 09/17/2003 5:20:00 PM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump for getting a CavMart opened in my neighborhood.
14 posted on 09/17/2003 5:23:08 PM PDT by Argus
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To: Miss Marple
American Soldiers will be American Soldiers...
Even if it isn't anything too bad, you know there's something going on "under the table". Our troops wouldn't Americans if there wasn't.
God bless 'em and Bring 'em home safe!
15 posted on 09/17/2003 5:25:23 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (Shoot them if they stand. Cut them if they run.)
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To: KevinDavis
I like it.

Interestingly, there have been all kinds of postulations about V.P., Sec. of State, etc. moves lately (here on FR and the media in general).

Maybe R. Lee for Sec of State? I guarantee that the French would be eating the sh*t out of our hand within a month, if R. Lee were at the helm of State.

16 posted on 09/17/2003 5:25:28 PM PDT by mattdono
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
I hope they open one in Balad at Camp Anaconda...there are 20,000 US troops there....I just sent off a huge pacakage of snacks..Halloween Decorations, Thanksgiving Decorations....now I'll work on Christmas.
17 posted on 09/17/2003 5:25:33 PM PDT by mystery-ak (Happy Birthday, Mike...wish you were here.)
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To: cavtrooper21
I hope you didn't think I meant that as an insult. That is one of my favorite movies, and I love the Don Rickles character.

My dad had all sorts of tales of trades and stuff they did when he was in Italy during WWII. Some really funny stories...which was just about all he would talk about.

18 posted on 09/17/2003 5:33:08 PM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: Miss Marple
Oh, no, no insult taken.
I spent too many years in the Army to think that all the warm and fuzzy PR crap is the complete tale. I know better.
Them boys is Cav., and that means they ALWAYS have some scam going on, even if it's just a little one.
19 posted on 09/17/2003 5:55:55 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (Shoot them if they stand. Cut them if they run.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Wait 'til Wal Mart gets wind of this. They'll be laying a foundation there any day now.
20 posted on 09/17/2003 6:07:19 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: cavtrooper21
Man, Cav troopers are the most resourceful guys in the Army, IHMO. Every time I read about 2d ACR, I long for the days wearing the Toujours Pret on my shoulder. I wish them all the best, as well as the rest of our troops. God bless 'em all!

Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho! Toujours Pret!

21 posted on 09/17/2003 6:08:29 PM PDT by wku man (Carolina 12, Bucs 9...I'm so embarrassed!)
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To: snippy_about_it
You're most welcome, snippy. Today was a good news day.

Did you read Pikamax's posts from the Iraqi press?

8 Iraqi entrepreneurs to launch 24 hour tv channel ~ Iraq Press  | 9/17/03

They're fed up with the "doom and gloom" of Arab and Western TV and want to bring joy to Iraq! *g*

22 posted on 09/17/2003 7:40:26 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ("I'm wondering how many chances he ought to get. I really am." ~ Rummy re. press, 9/16)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
I hadn't read it, been hunkered down in the Foxhole so thanks for the link.
23 posted on 09/17/2003 7:42:03 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall into The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump!
24 posted on 09/17/2003 8:10:48 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: mystery-ak
It appears we have need for a chain of CavMarts in Iraq.

I see happy. (^:

25 posted on 09/17/2003 8:37:55 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ("I'm wondering how many chances he ought to get. I really am." ~ Rummy re. press, 9/16)
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To: mattdono; PhilDragoo
R. Lee, ping!
26 posted on 09/17/2003 8:39:37 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ("I'm wondering how many chances he ought to get. I really am." ~ Rummy re. press, 9/16)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
The store may exist for soldiers’ convenience, but it also helps Iraqis, said translator Isameel Al Saffer, one of the store’s primary suppliers. The store resells Iraqi crafts and artwork made by local artisans. That puts money back into the re-emerging Iraqi economy.

But we are despised by Iraqis who wish our immediate departure.

Media=opposite of truth.

27 posted on 09/17/2003 11:10:47 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Thanks again for posting all these great stories. Reading these is the first thing I do every morning as soon as I pour my first cup.
28 posted on 09/18/2003 5:36:37 AM PDT by SwatTeam
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