Monday, December 19, 2005

In the Sandbox...

Iraqi Soldiers Not Allowed

I am currently assigned to the MiT Team at Forward Operating Base Hawk in Baghdad conducting joint operations with the Iraq army’s 2-1-6.

I was on Camp Liberty, conducting business with three of my soldiers and two senior noncommissioned officers. Our work went a little late, and by the time we had finished, it was time for dinner. I told my American NCO that we should take these guys to the Liberty dining facility for a “good old American cheeseburger.”

We left the Iraq army soldiers’ weapons locked up with our supply sergeant and went to the front door. I was then told by the security personnel working the door (to include the noncommissioned officer in charge) that Iraq army personnel were not allowed inside our chow hall. I said that they had no weapons, that they would submit to a search and that I would personally vouch for them. It was at that time that I was informed that Iraq army personnel were only allowed in the dining facility when accompanied by a colonel or higher, but if I would like to get them a to-go plate, I could do that.

I was insulted. These are soldiers who get paid fractions on the dollar what American soldiers and private contractors make to do extremely dangerous work and who are doing their best to take over our operations so that guys like me can finally go home.

I have fought alongside these two NCOs, helped them carry the stretchers of their wounded and dead comrades to the medevac bird, and shared countless meals of their local fare, which they provided without a second thought.

I understand the need for security, but for us as Americans to say “you’re good enough to fight alongside of us, but not sit at our table and share a meal” is disgraceful.

-Capt. Cody Trindle, Forward Operating Base Hawk, Baghdad (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...USMC wives...
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