AR RAMADI, Iraq – -- Under cover of night, Coalition troops surrounded a small Iraqi home to carry out one of their most vital missions, helping the people of Ar Ramadi, Iraq.
Iraqi soldiers of the 2-1-7 Iraqi Army and policemen from the Western Ramadi Police Station, assisted by the Marines of 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, delivered more than 6,000 pounds of food supplies to the keepers of the Al Bohemla Mosque on Nov. 4.
The delivery of supplies came in response to concerns from the local populace.
“Residents of the city approached Iraqi soldiers on patrol and Marines at our entry control points to let us know about the shortage of food,” said Maj. Scott J. Kish, 37-year-old civil affairs officer for 1/6.
As the continued reports of the shortage came in, Coalition Forces began coordinated planning to relieve the problem.
Iraqi Security Forces suggested a delivery of supplies to a nearby mosque and quickly volunteered to take on the responsibility, said Kish, a native of Sterling, Virg.
Even with the eagerness of the Iraqi Forces however, the operation was unable to go forward.
“We really wanted to help the people with this problem,” said Iraqi Army Lt. Seaf, platoon commander for the Iraqi Army’s 2-1-7. “But we didn’t have the supplies.”
Requiring assistance from outside of the city, Coalition Forces urged the Iraqi government to supply the food required to relieve the people of Ramadi, said Kish.
The request was answered quickly, allowing Coalition Forces to move forward with the delivery of more than three tons of rice, beans, flour and cooking oil.
Four days after the request was issued, the plan coordinated through the Iraqi Army and Police was carried out when the supplies were hand delivered to the mosque by the soldiers of the 2-1-7 and Policemen of the WRPS.
Marines played a minor role in the operation, providing external security as the Iraqi Forces worked, said Kish.
“The Marines offered to help carry the (100 pound) bags, but my soldiers said no,” said Iraqi Armt Lt. Seaf. “We were proud of the work we were doing and wanted the people to know the help came from us.”
The supplies were met with appreciation by the keepers of the mosque, who vowed to distribute the food to the neediest people of their area, said Kish.
“They were very happy to receive the food,” said Seaf. “It will be a great help to the people.”
The successful operation was one of the first major coordinations between Iraqi soldiers and policemen in Ramadi, said Kish.
With the positive reaction from the people and the pride garnered through their efforts, the Iraqi forces look forward to undertaking more humanitarian missions, said Seaf.
“By doing these things, we feel we are greater in the eyes of the people,” said Seaf.
Additional food supplies have been distributed to Iraqi Forces for the continued relief of Ramadi residents.
Iraqi soldiers and policemen have agreed to continue working together to aid the citizens of their city, said Seaf.
“Being the sons of Ramadi, we must help the people of our city,” said Iraqi Police Maj. Kathem, assistant commander of the Western Ramadi Police Station.