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Village members of Fuhaylat gather to collect food bags here, June 4. Coalition Forces came to assist neighboring villagers in the area and build a relationship with the people.

Photo by Cpl. Chris Lyttle

3/6 Marines distribute goods to Anbar local tribes

4 Jun 2008 | Cpl. Chris Lyttle

Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 helped al Anbar locals here facilitate a civil operation by assisting food bag distribution in the village of Fuhaylat, June 4.

Fuhaylat is one of the poorer areas on the outskirts of Fallujah and used to be a haven for al-Qaeda last year. Through the combined efforts of Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces, the area is now safe. Food bags are a means to ease the poverty of the people and prevent insurgent elements from once again taking root.

Locals in the area received raw cooking ingredients such as flour, rice, wheat and sugar, baby formula and blankets while Coalition forces were on hand to assist in crowd control and fair distribution amongst villagers.

Karim Abud, a village tribal leader, collected the contents for the food bags and used his property as the distribution point. He also compiled the list of people who live in the village to ensure items were provided for everyone.

1st Lt. Luke R. Barnes, platoon commander of Mobile Assault Platoon, explained the goal behind helping locals in their area of operation.

“The purpose is to aid and support the local tribal neighborhood and build a rapport by providing for their physical needs via foods and clothing,” Barnes said.

As the sun set, taking with it the light, the crowd grew anxious to collect items that were passed out. One of Abud’s son’s used a loudspeaker in a humvee to call off family names, one at a time, so the distribution of bags remained controlled.

By the time night fell, all of the items were passed out and the Marines discussed with Abud future projects that will be available for him to coordinate.

Cpl. Jarod Steeves, vehicle commander, Section C, described how he was happy to have been a part of this small operation to help the neighborhood locals.

“It did feel good and gratifying to help the people,” Steeves said. “In a war where it’s difficult to gauge success, this is a visible way to see the fruits of our labor.”