News: Building friendship, partnership through food
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
KIRKUK, Iraq - Friday is considered a day of rest and relaxation for Iraqis, a day where they spread out their blankets and enjoy good company and food. Soldiers of 2nd Company, 2nd Battalion, 49th Iraqi Army Brigade, shared this tradition, with their 'Gunner' partners of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, out of Fort Bliss, Texas, by holding a picnic at Dibbis Dam, near Kirkuk, Iraq, May 7.
The day was filled with food, jokes, stories and no business, according to 1st Lt. Ali Mohammed Ahmed, an intelligence officer with 2/49th IA BDE.
One particular story told by Ali told of the dark history and what he hopes is the bright future of the area.
Dibbis Dam was once an area not open to anyone, until after 2003, he said to the 'Gunners.' After 2003 my soldiers began guarding the dam and for the first time saw the water.
After we knew the area was secure it was opened to the public and now on the shore is always lined with families enjoying the water, he said. This is very good for the families in the area, he continued.
Capt. Spencer Timmons, a native of Deming, N.M., and commander of Alpha Battery, 2/3rd FA agreed with 1st Lt. Ali stating, "Iraq is changing, and it is a good change."
When the fresh fish, vegetables and chicken were cooked, Lt. Col. Charles D. Mills, commander of 2/3rd FA, Command Sgt. Maj. James Daniels, command sergeant major of 1-1 AD, Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Cortez, command sergeant major of 2/3rd FA, IA leadership and 2/3rd FA 'Gunners' sat down together, on a cliff next to the water to enjoy dinner.
At the end of the day Capt. Timmons said the day was a great one for partnership.
1st Lt. Rashwan Salih, executive officer for 2/49th IA BDE agreed. "We are already partners," he said. "We go on many patrols and missions together; we also want a friendship with our partners and with events like the one today we'll build that."