The Stories the News Won't Tell from Iraq.

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

I just thought that I would take a moment to talk about some of the things that the news is not showing in Iraq.  I thought this would be a good topic as I know many people have this mis-conception that all we are doing is patrolling down the roads, shooting the bad guys and, get killed ourselves. 

We have two major operations right now, training the Iraqi goverment so that they can take over when we leave (Iraqi Army, Police, and the government itself).  Our other mission is to do what we can to help the local economy and populace so that they do not have to resort to other means to have an income for their family.

My first tour over here I was responsible for living with and training the Iraqi army.  I was involved in the training process from teaching them combat tactics, to advising the commander on how to handle different situations.  We helped with administrative issues, supply issues, how to support their army in all aspects.  Below is a few picutes from my last tour. 

--- Okay Iraqi internet, I cant get the pictures to load, Ill try to get them on a silent sunday.---

 Anyway I spent most of my time trying to train the Iraqi Army unit I was assigned to as well as "Advising" the Commander.  After a year of working with them we were finally able to let them go as they were well on their way to supporting themselves.  We were one of the first units to do this, four years ago, there are still units getting trained like this today.  However from what I hear most of the "advising" is done at much higher levels and the smaller units are working on their own.

This was/is very important because once we leave it is fully up to them.  I am glad that we started working on this such a long time ago to give them time to be able to work suffeciently without assistance from the US.  In fact much of the work that is done in country now is done by the Iraqi's.  If you keep good track of things over here you would have heard that back in June/July we pulled out of all the major cities.  We turned everything over to the local police and military units and they are handling the city limits.  That's not to say that they do not call us for help from time to time but for the most part they are taking care of themselves.

The other major operation that we are doing is Civil Affairs.  Again I am right in the middle of it as I belong to Civil Affairs myself.  Below is a quick summary of what Civil Affiars is from Wikipedia:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Civil Affairs units help military commanders by working with civil authorities and civilian populations in the commander's area of operations to lessen the impact of military operations on them during peace, contingency operations and declared war." With their expertise in civil matters, they are the principle unit in assisting a commander in the conduct of civil-military operations.

CA units act as a liaison between the civilian inhabitants of a warzone or disaster area and the military presence, both informing the local commander of the status of the civilian populace as well as effecting assistance to locals by either coordinating military operations with non-governmental organizations (NGOs)and IGO's or distributing directly aid and supplies.

Comprised primarily of civilian experts such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, police, firemen, bankers, computer programmers, farmers, and others, CA soldiers provide critical expertise to host-nation governments and are also able to assess need for critical infrastructure projects such as roads, clinics, schools, power plants, water treatment facilities, etc. Once a project has been decided on, a contract is put out at a civil-military operations center for local contractors to come and bid. CA teams will periodically check up on the status of the project to make sure the money is being well-spent.

CA provides the commander with cultural expertise, assesses the needs of the civilian populace, handles civilians on the battlefield, refugee operations, keeps the commander informed of protected targets such as schools, churches, hospitals, etc., and interfaces with local and international NGOs and private volunteer organizations, which provides the commander with a unique battlefield overlay of all civilian activity, ongoing infrastructure projects, and the presence and mission of NGOs in the area.

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If you check none of the other links on this page I ask that you at least read this one.  (CLICK HERE) This page is stories from Soldiers that serve in my home unit out of Knoxville Tennessee.  This is the stories from just one deployment from one unit.  We have around 30 units with multiple units deployed to Iraq and Afghanastan and Africa.  You could imagine how many stories Civil Affairs has to tell has a whole.

In the Grand Scheme of things this is one of the most important aspects of the war that is constantly overlooked.  I would like to write a follow up to this blog in the next few days that elaborates why I feel that our presense here is so important.  As for now, well its time for me to get back to work, so I will see you all later:)

 

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Rainmaker
529,985
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

Nicholas, Your post is very interesting.  Thanks for telling the news that we don't see.  I'm looking forward to the photos when the Internet cooperates.

Nov 23, 2009 01:19 AM #1
Rainer
14,912
Brian Kasprzyk
Remax Southern Shores - Little River, SC

Thanks for the information and thanks for your service

Nov 23, 2009 01:33 AM #2
Rainmaker
683,087
Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Realty Works Temecula

Nicholas:  Very touchingpost explaining what the soldiers do that we are not aware of.  Helping the "have-nots", and other admirable things.  I do wish that these stories were out in the public view more often!  I appreciate our military very much for all that they do!   The link to your former 489th battalion was very eloquently written with great pictures too!

Nov 23, 2009 01:41 AM #3
Rainmaker
593,168
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX
 

Nicholas,

Thank you!

I'm looking forward to the photos. The news leaves out the good you do and sensationalizes any real or imaginary mistakes.

I though you were getting very short time.

Bill

Nov 23, 2009 02:39 AM #4
Ambassador
2,974,666
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Thanks for sharing this.  It's nice to hear some of stories the news will never tell and I enjoyed the journal entry you linked to very much.  God Bless and keep safe.

Nov 23, 2009 08:51 AM #5
Rainmaker
529,985
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

Nicholas,  I just came back to wish you a great Thanksgiving and to thank you and all the soldiers there with you for being there for us.

Nov 26, 2009 02:36 PM #6
Rainmaker
19,600
Nicholas Bush
Keller Williams Realty - Knoxville, TN

All - Again thank you all for your support.  The support we receive is the backbone on how we survive these deployments. 

Gary - It seems as though my internet has finally crapped out, not only can I not upload photos, but I can very rarely see any photo's.  It will be late this month before I get any photo's up.

Jane - I really like the Civil Affairs Mission.  My last tour I spent with the Iraqi Army and new that I wanted to work with them again.  I am going to try and get our unit to do another website like the old one for this tour.

William - The problem with the news is that this stuff isn't drama, I guess they don't get enough ratings to talk about the good.  And I am on short timers.  Only a couple of weeks left.

Tammy - Thank you, Maybe I can get a few more stories of things we did here out on AR for everyone.

Garay - Thanks again, Thanksgiving was kind of a bust, but I have a feeling Christmas was great.  Oh we did have some of the Patriots' Cheerleaders here to have Thanksgiving dinner with us :) 

Nov 26, 2009 03:19 PM #7
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Rainmaker
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Nicholas Bush

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