Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wolverines and Mountain Lions provide Iraqis basic medical care

Staff Sgt. Angela Mckinzie
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs

KHATAD VILLAGE, IRAQ — For many Iraqis, getting treatment for simple illnesses - such as the common cold – has been difficult until now.
Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment “Wolverines,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, N.Y., and 3rd Battalion “Mountain Lions,” 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division teamed up April 20 to provide Iraqi local nationals with basic medical care during a medical operation in Khatad Village, Iraq.
“The MEDOP allows us to see a perspective very foreign from the battlefield,” said Maj. Dimitri Cassimatis, 1-89 surgeon and native of Washington, D.C. “We see mothers and fathers bringing in their children – (they are) worried about their health.”
During the medical operation, citizens complained of symptoms ranging from a sore throat to an aching back. However, chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure could not be treated in one day. Since the medical operation was a very basic medical set-up the patients with chronic illnesses were sent to the Civil Military Operations Center where they could receive continual care.
“Today we are treating and giving out medication for common illnesses,” said Sgt. William Bradshaw, a 1-89 military transition team medical trainer and native of Hurst, Texas. “The CMOC is staffed with doctors that can do more for the Iraqis.”
And in other ways the MEDOP provided more for the Iraqis than just basic medical care.
“In addition to providing free medical care it is giving us the opportunity to befriend and earn the trusts of our local national neighbors,” Bradshaw commented.
The MITT operations trainer also elaborated on the indirect effect of providing basic medical care.
“We are building relationships with the local nationals that live within our area of operations,” said Capt. Yoon Choi, a native of Fair Lawn, N.J.
“This MEDOP might have been the swing vote for some of the people treated here on whose side they should be on,” said 1st Lt. Arkan, a native of Baghdad who serves as a personal security detachment platoon leader with 3-4-6 IA.
Regardless of the indirect effect the MEDOP had, medical providers were happy to help the Iraqis.
“Although we are only able to provide basic medical treatment to the local Iraqis, you can tell by the expressions on the people’s faces how grateful they are for any assistance,” said 2nd Lt. Max Smith, a 1-89 platoon leader and native of Grand Haven, Mich.
At the end of the operation Soldiers realized the Iraqis were not too different than the Americans.
“Most Iraqis want what we (the Americans) have - health and comfort for themselves and their families,” Cassimatis added.
The squadron is planning to conduct more MEDOPs in the future in order to continue providing the Iraqis with basic medical care.

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