Special to American Forces Press Service
Dec. 26, 2007 - The troops who provide a security situation that allows Iraqi children to attend school are helping those same children here get the most of that experience. "I have always been a believer that when you are in school the only thing you should worry about is learning, and all teachers should be worried about is teaching," said Army 1st Lt. Reimund G. Manneck Jr., fire support officer with Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment.
"I think especially in a safe place like Adil, where kids and teachers can go to school on their own without any fear, they should be at least afforded a good building and plenty of supplies so they can focus on learning and not worry that they will run out of notebooks and pencils and that their building is falling apart," Manneck added.
Iraqi army soldiers and Company A troops, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), delivered backpacks to school children at the Kawaryzmi Primary School in Adil earlier this month.
The headmasters at the school were complaining they didn't receive enough school supplies for their students for the entirety of the school year, said Hartsdale, N.Y., native Manneck. This was the second school they delivered supplies to, with the first being Al Khullud Secondary School for Girls.
So working with the Iraqi army, the U.S. soldiers gathered the supplies and delivered them to very enthusiastic, but well-mannered students.
In charge of delivering these supplies were the soldiers of 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division.
Their company commander, Capt. Hyder, according to Manneck, "is very willing to help the people."
"Of all Iraqi army officers we have met, he is the best in helping the community," and is very understanding of the needs of the Iraqi people, he said.
"He understands that in order to pull the population away from the insurgents you need to work with and help people," continued Manneck. "He is always planning humanitarian assistance and medical-type drops."
Sometimes pulling these supplies in can be difficult for the Iraqi army, Manneck said. So, this is where the U.S. troops step in to help by providing the supplies. But it is still the Iraqi army up front, providing for their people.
"We learn about the schools who need supplies through the Iraqi army," said 1st Lt. Robert Behrman, with Company B, 492nd Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment. "If it weren't for the Iraqi army, school supply missions wouldn't happen. These are things that are motivated, initiated and driven by the Iraqi army."
With the Iraqi army out interacting with the people, finding out their needs can only mean immediate change, said Behrman. With the Iraqi army enjoying the trust of local citizens, the soldiers can continue to reach out and conduct their security mission.
"It builds people's confidence and trust in them, something that used to lack here in Adil but has been getting better since we have been doing these joint operations," Manneck said.
(Army Sgt. James P. Hunter serves with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Public Affairs.)