By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 489th Civil Affairs Company currently attached to Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, attended a ceremony to open a newly renovated health clinic in Jisr Diyala, Jan. 13.
The clinic opening is significant, according to Capt. DeMond Davis, from Montgomery, Ala., fire support officer for the 3-1 Cav. Regt., because it is fully operational the day of the opening. This indicates improved security, Davis explained, which allows the Iraqi government and citizens and U.S. Soldiers to focus less on violence and more on reconstruction.
With help from the 489th CA Company, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team who donated supplies, the citizens of Jisr Diyala opened the clinic doors and doctors were able to see patients immediately.
According to Maj. James Carlisle, from Palm Beach, Fla., civil military operations officer for the 3rd BCT, planning the renovation began mid-2004. The funding began approximately one year later.
“It was a complicated building process because security wasn’t in place,” Carlisle said. “The project couldn’t be completed until the area was secure.”
Carlisle said when the 3-1 Cav. Regt. assumed responsibility of Jisr Diyala, they set up anti-terrorism measures.
“They would visit often and run patrols by it to reduce the likelihood of people attacking the building,” he said. “The national police secured the area around the building.”
Before the doors opened, local leaders coordinated with the ministry of health to make sure it had the personnel and equipment to be a fully-functioning clinic.
“The clinic provides additional medical care to a largely populated area that used to have to travel half an hour to Baghdad,” Carlisle said. “It’s a good place for parents to bring their children; and it’s all but free. People pay 45 cents to be seen there.”
Co. D, 1-15 Inf. Regt. is attached to the 3-1 Cav. Regt. and is assigned to the 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga. The unit has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March, 2007.