Sunday, June 22, 2008

Soldiers deliver toys to Iraqi girls' school

by U.S. ARMY SGT Daniel Blottenberger
18th Military Police Brigade

CAMP VICTORY — When Iraqi Police and Coalition troops arrived at the Zainab Girls School in Hurriyah June 12, they were met by the smiling faces of more than 50 children and their caretakers in the Baghdad community. “This makes it all worth while,” said 1st Sgt. Thomas Gray, 64th MP Co., 18th Military Police Brigade, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, who is a native of Oxford, Conn., after boxes full of school supplies and toys were handed out to the grateful Iraqi children.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Reinsburrow holds an Iraqi child June 12 in Hurriyah, while Iraqi Police and Coalition forces hand out toys and school supplies to the local children. (Army photo by Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger)The Hurriyah IP brought toys and supplies to hand out to the children to help show the families of the area that IP were here to help protect and serve the community. “This event gives the IP an opportunity to interact with the people other than neighborhood patrols and checkpoint operations,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Reinsburrow, squad leader, 64th Military Police Company, who is a native of Towanda, Pa.

Reinsburrow and his squad of military police Soldiers have been conducting police transition team (PTT) operations with the Hurriyah IP for eleven months now. The PTT Soldiers are military police who interact, train and advise IP personnel from the local police officer, or “shurta,” to the most senior leaders as they conduct their day-to-day missions.

The mission for the IP on this day was to hand out school supplies and toys to the local children, many of whom are orphans.“It is always a good feeling when you can make an Iraqi kid smile,” said 1st Lt. Geneva Arnold, platoon leader, 64th MP Co., who is a native of Tucson, Ariz. The IP handed out backpacks, school supplies and soccer balls to the children, who were ecstatic upon receiving the items from the policemen and MND-B Soldiers. The operation helped further the relationship between the locals and the IP.

“The citizens of Hurriyah are not afraid to come and talk to the IP,” said Sgt. Angel Villegas, 64th MP Co., who is a native of El Paso, Texas. “On normal operation days at the station, there are lines out the door of people coming to get assistance from the IP.” The PTT Soldiers said they felt the Hurriyah citizens recognize the Hurriyah IP as a force dedicated to bringing the rule of law to the community. “The citizens see the IP are just out there doing their job as IP,” said Reinsburrow.

In the past year of working with the IP, the PTT has seen them become a well-recognized force that brings law and order to their local community. “When we got here, the IP were just getting a foothold in the area,” said Villegas. “Now, they are a force capable of operating on their own.”

The Hurriyah IP showed their ability to protect their community during an uprising by criminal groups in Baghdad.“The IP stayed at their posts and manned the checkpoints during the uprising,” said Reinsburrow. Now that violence has decreased in the area, IP can focus on building better relationships within their local communities.“The IP are making a positive impact on their citizens’ lives,” said Arnold.

After all the school supplies and toys were handed out, the IP and MND-B Soldiers mounted back up in their vehicles to return to their daily mission of keeping the citizens of Hurriyah safe. The 64th MP Co. is deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, and is currently assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion, 18th MP Bde., MND-B.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Reinsburrow holds an Iraqi child June 12 in Hurriyah, while Iraqi Police and Coalition forces hand out toys and school supplies to the local children. (Army photo by Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger).

Source: CENTCOM.

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