So the 148th Brigade, B battery, 1st battalion has gone out to hundreds and hundreds of outlying villages. They patrol the areas, they see if the villagers are in need of generators, water supply, medical care, school supplies. North and particularly East of Kirkuk, out to the Iranian border about 6 hours away over mountainous roads they are found scattered everywhere.
In these Kurdish areas Americans are almost exclusively and warmly received as liberators from Saddam. Many of the villagers have never seen an American before the soldiers came through, but due to the gracious nature of the people, a warm rapport is easily born between both parties.
Although the Arabs are more wary or even more antagonistic than the Kurds towards the soldiers, our boys in uniform report that there is no such differentiation with the children. They are all equally beautiful and equally friendly and one surmises again that the true change in Iraq may come in a generation when these kids grow into a freer and more prosperous environment.
The soldiers and children seem equally enamored by each other. Bringing shoes to one group of village children, an older “special needs” teenager found none his size. A soldier, moved by the need dug $10 out of his own pocket in hopes the youth could buy some the next time the family was town. In these villages the soldiers will sometimes safely overnight and move on in the morning, practically free from the worry of harm and given hope by this surprising part of Iraq.
Another time, after a sweep--where they cordon off a city and enter several homes where informants have reported something illegal present--they came across an older woman in need of medical help. She receives it and medical supplies are given to a local clinic that has practically nothing. Any damage to property during the raid is generously reimbursed in American cash.
My brother mentioned that during his stay in Italy, he was warmly received by citizens whose parents and Grandparents had told them of the generosity and kindness of American soldiers to them after World War II. Stories here of connections between Iraqis and us, that, in a way my brother pointed out, will quite possibly be told for generations. Another great Legacy of the American soldier in addition to freedom: Kindness.