KIRKUK, Iraq -- "I want to make sure all of the insurgents know that the Kirkuk Peshmerga is against anyone that threatens Kirkuk, the government, or the forces that protect the area," said Col. Kurkuki, a battalion commander with 2nd Brigade Peshmerga, to Soldiers of White Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga., and the soldiers of Kirkuk Combined Security Force
This Peshmerga colonel and his family opened their minds, home and kitchen to the CSF for a gathering at their home in Sona Agoly, a village near Kirkuk, Iraq, March 19.
From the moment the CSF walked in the door they knew they had come to the right place to meet with someone who would have not only a tactical knowledge of the area but a personal connection with the people.
"To be able to meet with Col. Kurkuki, a commander with extensive military history and a man that is very respected by the village, it is a great honor," said Capt. Nick Loudon, a Brockway, Pa., native and commander of Company A.
Loudon was not the only person that thought of this gathering as a great honor.
"My mother has spent all day cooking for you," said Shalaw Najim, a son of Kurkuki. "She loves all of you; you saved her life."
He went on to explain that many of the members of his mother's family were killed before the U.S. forces came to help in 2003, but she got away from danger when U.S. forces arrived and that she views Soldiers as her brothers.
"Life has gotten a lot better for us since 2003. Our people suffered greatly before," said Kurkuki. "This year has already been one of the best."
Kurkuki said the proof that security and life in Kirkuk is improving was how smoothly the elections went.
The security forces protected the city and all came together as one for the greater good of the people of Kirkuk, now the citizens trust them even more, said Kurkuki.
"We know freedom is worth fighting for, so every minute, every hour, every day of every year we [Peshmerga] will be at your service," said Kurkuki, as he was saying farewell to his new CSF brothers.
This work, Peshmerga cmdr. plays host to CSF soldiers, by SPC Jessica Luhrs-Stabile, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.