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JAZEERA, Iraq (August 3, 2008) – Petty Officer Second Class Alberto Mederos, a corpsman with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, works with an Iraqi doctor handing out medicine during a Combined Medical Engagement at the al Rashid school, Aug. 3. Iraqi doctors and their assistants, with the support of Navy doctors and hospital corpsmen, provided much needed service to the Jazeera community. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by: Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt) (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

From one hand to another

3 Aug 2008 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

JAZEERA, Iraq (August 3, 2008) – An Iraqi boy stood with his shoulder against the wall inside the school he attends each day, and although today school was not in session, his view was filled with the smiling faces of his fellow Iraqi citizens.

The community was gathered at the al Rashid School Aug. 3, for a Combined Medical Engagement hosted by Iraqi doctors, Army and Police with the assistance of Marines and sailors from Company C, Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and Company F, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, both from Regimental Combat Team 1.

The joint operation provided the citizens with much needed medical service and relief assistance, and served as a “getting to know the community” event for Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, who recently arrived to the area to take over for Task Force 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. 

“This is a good charity for the families and children,” explained Dr. Mohamed Taha Azzizz, an Iraqi doctor who provided medical care during the CME. “There are people (here) who need help and can’t always drive to get it.”

Cpl. James Mohr, a squad leader with Company C, described Jazeera as a low income rural community and said its citizens do not always have the ability to buy necessities.

“They seemed very perceptive to the fact that not only will we get the insurgents, but we’re helping the community as well,” Mohr said.

The Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police provided security for the operation, while the Marines were on hand to provide over-watch and be of assistance if needed.

Marines said the school’s size, security and number of rooms made it an ideal location to help the Iraqi people.     
In addition to providing security, the Iraqi Army and Police passed out toys and games to children and set up a food collection point in the school yard.

“Showing the citizens that the (Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police) are (taking the lead) will reinforce the citizens trust in the local Iraqi Security Forces,” said Mohr.

“Seeing the smiles and how grateful the community was shows great progress,” added Azzizz.