News: Marines visit hospital and IP Station
By Cpl. Erik Villagran
Regimental Combat Team 5
HIT, Iraq – Marines with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, continued their mission of assisting Iraqi people in Hit, Iraq.
The Marines performed a mobile patrol through the city stopping at two important destinations.
"The objective of our patrol was to build rapport with the people and see if we could help the hospital with anything," said Lance Cpl. Israel H. Aguirre, 21, a team leader with Company I from Miluakia, Ore. "We also wanted to check out how the (Iraqi police) were working."
Marines made their way to the hospital through the congested streets of the town. After setting up security outside the hospital, a few of the Marines entered the building with a doctor.
"They were more then willing to let us walk around," Aguirre said. "They showed us around the hospital. They took us to see a girl who was sick and that was heartbreaking. There wasn't anything they didn't show us."
It was the first time Seaman Nicholas C. Vassilopolous, 25, a corpsman with Company I from Southwick, Mass., had visited an Iraqi hospital. He said he was pleasantly surprised by how similar it was to any other hospital.
"It was better than what I thought it was going to be," Vassilopolous said. "It was really organized. They had a lab area and X-rays."
While they walked around the hospital, Marines offered the hospital staff assistance in anything they needed. Aguirre ensured they weren't having problems with food, water and electricity.
"We want to get (the Iraqis) what they need," Aguirre said. "We want to show the Iraqi people that we are here to help."
After the tour of the hospital, Marines moved on to an Iraqi police station. Iraqi policemen greeted the patrol with open arms and quickly launched into a walk through of the facility.
"They let us know that they were more then willing to work with us," Aguirre said.
Marines walked through the jail inside the station to see how the prisoners were treated and discussed recent activity in the area with the policemen.
Marines were pleased with how the station is ran and were satisfied with the patrol overall.
"The patrol flowed nicely," Aguirre said. "We let the (Iraqi police) know we are willing to work together. We showed people at the hospital we're not just here to fight. Only good things can come from doing humanitarian things like helping hospitals."