By Sgt. Natalie Rostek, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
Jan. 17, 2008 - Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, conducted a tailgate health clinic in three areas within a brick factory compound in Nahrwan on Jan. 15. At the factory, 489th Civil Affairs Company, a reserve unit from Knoxville, Tenn., along with medical personnel from Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, provided free exams and medication to citizens who live or work in the compound.
Army Capt. Jarred Albright, commander of Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, said coalition Forces had not visited the brick factory to assess their medical needs. When free health clinics are held in Nahrwan, citizens of the brick factory rarely attend, he said.
"We are getting a feel for the area so in the future we can possibly hold one of our full-blown med-ops out here," Albright said.
The soldiers spent about a half hour at each location in the compound. Brick factory workers, men and women, lined up to be searched before going in to see one of five medical personnel. Some workers brought their children. All patients were covered in black soot from the factory towers.
"Mostly we saw respiratory and skin problems," said Army Staff Sgt. Willie Sigears, from Springfield, Ill., a medic in Headquarters Battery. "We saw a lot of fungal diseases due to the smoke from the factory."
Medics handed out an assortment of medication, primarily cough syrup and hand cream.
Army Sgt. Michael Cowan, from Mont Eagle, Tenn., of the 489th Civil Affairs Company, handed out toothbrushes and toothpaste.
"They don't have adequate health care in this area," Cowan said. "Especially their dental care is sub-par. By giving them the basic stuff, we are making a difference."
The 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, is assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.
(Army Sgt. Natalie Rostek is assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment.)