By SPC Chis McCann, October 25, 2006
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
The first few were hesitant, coming in by ones and twos, but soon the floodgates opened and the citizens of Rushdi Mulla came from all over town to receive medical care October 19 at a Multi-National Division - Baghdad Operation.
The medical operation was conducted by soldiers of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in the small town of Rushdi Mulla, and was intended mostly to get an idea of what medical supplies were needed and to determine what clinics and health care providers were available in the area.
"It's what we came to do, besides taking care of our own," said SPC Carrielynn Spillis, a native of Toledo, Ohio, and a medic with Company c, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, attached to 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. "It's nice being able to come here and help them."
Kazar, a resident of Rushdi Mulla, brought his cousin's son, Mustafa, to the operation to have the 1 year-old boy's hand treated for an injury.
Medics washed it and applied antibacterial ointment and explained, through an interpreter, that each finger would have to be wrapped separately to keep them from healing together.
"I'm glad the Americans came to help," Kasar said.
"We're planning treatment...to provide for local civilians in the area," said SGT Jason Lane, a medic with 4-31 Infantry Regiment. "We had a very good turnout, didn't see anything too extreme, and we have a better idea of what to expect in this area."
"Initially they were fairly timid," he said. "By the end of the operation, they were more personable, particularly the children."
The soldiers brought bags of toys - everything from plush animals to squeezable rubber ducks, which seemed to transcend the language barrier and brought smiles.
Initially, the operation was announced over loudspeakers throughout the neighborhood; but after a poor showing to start the operation, soldiers went door-to-door to get the word out.
"When we did the foot patrol with announcements, we saw a huge change in turnout," said MAJ Robert Griggs, a native of Colusa, California, and plans officer for 4-31 Infantry Regiment.
It wasn't only the medics who made the operation work. "We went out to distract the enemy so the medics could act," said PFC James Cook, Company D, 4-31 Infantry Regiment. "We set up three traffic control points to search vehicles and patrolled the areas... It was all quiet."
"We kept an eye on things to make sure soldiers didn't get hurt. We all came back in one piece. It was a good patrol," said PFC Samuel Rhodes, also of D Company.
"It;s a positive step in the war on terror," said 1st LT Aaron Brooks, of Syracuse, New York, the medical platoon leader, 4-31 Infantry Regiment. "The Iraqis trust us enough to seek health care, and we are willing to give it in any way possible... The end state should be that we help support the Ministry of Health to do its own medical operations."
Another good news story about the many accomplishments that are being made in Iraq by our fine military men and women. It makes me proud to be an American! Thank you all!!!!!