FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq — Partnership is the term used by U.S. military officials to describe the cooperative relationship between Iraqi police, Iraqi army soldiers and U.S. Soldiers following the Security Agreement signed between the two countries, Jan. 1. This includes daily missions maintaining security in Kirkuk province and it also means sharing in accomplishments.
Iraqi emergency services police in Kirkuk city, Iraq, were witness to a reenlistment ceremony for two Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, "Red Dragons," 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, May 11, which included awarding Army Achievement Medals to five of their own Shurta, or policemen, from their "Red Dragon" partners, at the Emergency Services Unit station.
The ceremony began with dozens of ESU Shurta standing in formation to watch the unfurling of the U.S. flag and the reenlistment of Sgt. David Crebo, a Farmington, N.M., native and Spc. Jonathan Real, a Bayamon, Puerto Rico, native, both artillerymen with Battery B, 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.
"There is nothing more fitting than for these Soldiers to raise their right hand and reenlist with their Iraqi partners present," explained Lt. Col. Terry Cook, the commander of the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.
Aside from wanting to extend their time in the military, there were additional reasons they chose to reenlist with their Iraqi partners beside them.
"We are in their country," said Real. "We wanted to show them how we [U.S. Army Soldiers] do our ceremonies."
Crebo explained that the ESU had been a great partner and this ceremony symbolized that partnership between the ESU and the U.S. Army, and it also gave the Shurta an example of how to conduct their own reenlistment ceremonies.
Following the reenlistment, the five Shurta receiving AAMs were brought before the assembled Iraqi police and U.S. Soldiers.
By Army regulation, the AAM can be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States, or to any member of the Armed Forces of a friendly foreign nation, who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguishes himself by meritorious service or achievement.
According to Brig. Gen. Khatad, the ESU chief, the five Shurta were being rewarded for their outstanding work and for setting an example for their fellow policemen.
"I've seen the Shurta within Kirkuk city working at an exceptional level," said Cook. "We are honored and humbled to be able to serve with such a fine organization."
For one Shurta in particular, the award had special meaning.
"It is very unusual for us to receive awards for doing our job well," explained Anies Fandi Naijm Muter, an ESU Shurta. ""I am very proud."
"All my fellow Shurtas are going to try and prove that they can be better than me now," said Muter. "It's a great program, and it is great that we are being rewarded for doing what we love."
This work, U.S. and Iraqi partners share recognition, by SSG Justin A. Naylor, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.