Wednesday, 11 July 2007
By Spc. Shea Butler
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
BAGHDAD — The East Rashid Security District has long been known as stomping ground for members of al-Qaida, but with the help of coalition forces, hopefully not for much longer. Coalition forces routinely clear neighborhoods of weapons caches, search for insurgents and maintain a presence in these neighborhoods.
After conducting a patrol in one neighborhood of East Rashid, the Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, chose to “pop smoke” -- literally, using smoke canisters to help cover their exit.
When they returned the next day, the troops discovered the smoke canisters they used had caused some damage to a local resident’s home, starting a small fire, which had been quickly extinguished.
Capt. Andre Yee, Co. C’s commander, took a few Soldiers back to some of the homes they visited the day before. A friendly local family welcomed the Soldiers with open arms and showed them the damage to the house.
Yee immediately offered to pay the family so they could fix their home.
“The gentleman was hesitant to take the money at first, but I explained to him it was the right thing to do,” Yee said. “If we damage something we are going to fix it.”
After the men finished their business, the wife and daughter of the household began to prepare food for the Soldiers.
The troops joined the Iraqi family for brunch in their living room. The husband and wife with their four children each voiced their concerns for their neighborhood and their gratitude toward the Soldiers.
“Do you think there is any hope for the neighborhood?” Yee asked the husband.
“If there are more people like you and your Soldiers, then there is hope,” the man replied through an interpreter.
Because of the recent violence and coalition and Iraqi security forces’ efforts to bring it under control, East Rashid is under a strict curfew. No military-age males are allowed to wander the neighborhood. However, no one really goes outside because of fear of insurgents, the local family explained.
“Can I just go outside and play?” the youngest of the children asked Yee.
“No, not yet,” Yee said.
“Give us time to secure the area. Bullets don’t have names on them,” Yee explained in terms the young boy could understand. “If the insurgents are targeting us (coalition forces) you might get caught in the middle and get hurt.”
After their meal was over and the conversation wound down, it was time for Yee and his troops to get back on the road. The family and Soldiers exchanged hugs and handshakes. Yee’s interpreter gave the family a phone number and told them to call if they had any problems, and said they would return to check up on the family in the following days.
Labels: 1-38th Infantry, Baghdad, East Rashid, Good News, Iraq, US Army