Friday, March 23, 2007

A Face of Freedom ~ Army Sgt Maj Manuel Daponte

Sgt. Maj. Manuel Daponte, from Westport, Mass., the senior enlisted U.S. advisor to the 8th Iraqi National Police Brigade, gives a battlefield promotion to Mutada Ali, 4, the son of 8th INP Bde. Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Ibrahim Daboun, by giving him his sergeant major rank on the streets of Sadr City March 5

By Sgt. Mike Pryor
2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Public Affairs

BAGHDAD – As a sergeant major with years of experience in the Army, Sgt. Maj. Manuel Daponte is used to people being a little intimidated when they approach him. But Mutada Ali, 4, son of Iraqi national police commander Brig. Gen. Ali Ibrahim Daboun, isn’t intimidated by much.

“I was sitting in the general’s office when Mutada came in. He came right up to me and climbed into my lap,” Daponte recalled. “That was the beginning of the friendship.”

Since that day, Mutada and Daponte, of Westport, Mass., the senior enlisted U.S. advisor to the 8th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police Division, have been pretty much inseparable. As the senior non-commissioned officer in charge of four 11-man U.S. training teams responsible for advising more than 2,700 Iraqi Army and police personnel, Daponte works closely with Gen Ali, who commands the 8th Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi National Police Division.

Wherever Gen. Ali goes, so does Mutada.

“He’s always stuck with me. He doesn’t want to stay home,” the general explained with a laugh.

When Ali heads out to watch his forces train or conduct operations, Daponte acts as Mutada’s battle buddy, watching out for him and keeping him out of trouble.

Mutada even accompanied his father during recent clearing operations in the notorious militia stronghold of Sadr City. Daponte was right beside him for much of the time, helping the boy collect U.S. unit patches from Soldiers and making sure he picked up his candy bar wrappers.

It’s an odd sight to see an American sergeant major “babysitting” a mischievous Iraqi boy in the middle of a war zone, but Daponte said the time he spends with Mutada reminds him of what he is fighting for.

“I love kids,” he said. “I have two daughters of my own, and to have someone like this come along and remind us that the world is a simpler place outside of war, is a great thing.”


De'on Miller said...

How great!

Bushwack said...

Damn it how come I didn't see this on CNN???? (/Sarcasm)

good story..

Ron Simpson said...

I agree. this is something thatthe public needs to see. but the MSM drive by media is full of left wing idiots

Helen said...

Thanks for the wonderful story!It sure brought a smile on my face.


Sarge Charlie said...

great stuff, cnn's transmitter would explode with this kind of content.

Sarge Charlie said...

I am doing a Shout Out.

Anonymous said...
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Palo Seca said...
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Flag Gazer said...

Palo Seca and Anonymous ~
First - you both have the SAME IP address, so obviously you are the same ignorant person.
Second - when you show up to spit on a man's reputation, put your real name on it COWARD.
The reason that people won't see this story, it because it is good news and make the military look like the wonderful people they are.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if this is the same SGM Daponte who once worked at the USAR Recruiting office in Fall River MA? I was a friend who lost touch and I am trying to find him.