Monday, January 7, 2008

3rd HBCT, Mada'in Qada Leaders Discuss Security, Growth

Third Heavy Brigade Combat Team leaders along with leaders of the Mada'in Qada attend a meeting in the dining facility at Forward Operating Base Hammer Jan. 2.

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd HBCT Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Leaders of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team hosted a sheik meeting which focused primarily on the Concerned Local Citizens program, the building of the Iraqi Civilian Conservation Force and detainee releases Jan. 2. The meeting was followed by a “goat grab” dinner in the dining facility on Forward Operating Base Hammer.

Iraqi security force, local governmental and tribal leaders of the Mada’in Qada met with brigade leaders to discuss concerns and progress in the qada.

“We have accomplished a lot in the previous year because of your leadership,” said Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of the 3rd HBCT. “In the qada there are more people, more projects, more money, more stuff going on. We could not have done any of this without your leadership.”

Mushen Nasser, the qada mayor, agreed with Grigsby.

“Thank you to the sheiks because without them we couldn’t improve anything in Iraq,” Nasser said through a translator. “We need to keep working with the Concerned Local Citizens, supporting the Iraqi security forces and providing the coalition forces with tips about known terrorists. We need to hold hands together to work toward the good of this country. I wish you all luck. Hopefully, this year will be full of success and security.”

Grigsby said that as long as the 3rd HBCT remained in the Mada’in Qada, they would continue to support and assist the community.

After the meeting, 3rd HBCT leaders joined their Iraqi counterparts in a traditional cultural meal consisting of goat, potatoes and rice.
According to Col. Bud Jameson, from Little Rock, Ark., deputy commander of the 3rd HBCT’s embedded provincial reconstruction team, meetings like these are especially important in building relationships between the coalition forces, Iraqi security forces and government and community leaders.

“In the Arabic culture, a lot is done based on personal relationships and levels of trust,” Jameson said.

Nasser supported Jameson’s assessment, saying meetings close the gap between local residents and the government. Nasser said governmental leaders can see the sheiks and have a better idea of what they need for their villages.

“There were problems with the communication between the government, the local community and the council members,” Nasser said through a translator. “Now, we use meetings like this to fix problems and close that gap. This is a result of the great support of the coalition forces. In the future we want to be able to bring tribes together with no difficulty and no problems.”

Col. Emad Abd Ali, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st National Police Division, expressed his optimism for the future of the area.

“The future is full of prosperity,” Emad said through a translator. “This will come with local security. The sheiks will cooperate together. Tourists will be able to visit Iraq. We will not forget the support from the coalition forces. We will never forget their support in making this area more peaceful.”

Also attending the meeting were Sheik Nouri Zabar Khamiss, a senior sheik in the Mada’in Qada, Sheik Hatef Muhya, 1st deputy of the Qada Support Council, and 3rd HBCT Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Ryan Kuhn, from Clarks, Neb.

The 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, is from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007

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