News: Marines, ANA give Garmsir Ramadan gift
Story by Cpl. Colby Brown
GARMSIR DISTRICT, Helmand province, Afghanistan — Ramadan is just a few days away and local Afghanistan National Army soldiers and Marines are joining in the holiday buzz.
Marines from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment and local ANA soldiers recently returned from the Lashkar Gah Bazaar, where they picked up more than 1,200 bags of wheat grain for the local citizens.
The 1/3 Embedded Training and Civil Affairs Teams accompanied the ANA soldiers to Lashkar Gah, where they loaded more than 1,200 50-kilogram bags by hand.
The government of Afghanistan funded the purchase and plans to distribute the grain to the local farming community. Families will receive the grain as a gift, so they have enough food for Eid, the celebration that caps the month-long fast of Ramadan. Local teachers will also receive wheat for Eid celebrations at their schools.
The ANA, Afghan National Police and the Marine counterparts also plan to support the local communities’ observance of the holiday by passing out school supplies, food packages and aiding in the refurbishment and construction of mosques and shura halls.
“The Ramadan holiday is part of the daily life of every Afghan person, so showing we respect the holiday will help the perception of Marines to positively change,” said 1st Lt. Paul Mooney, the assistant civil affairs team leader for 1/3 and native of New York.
Phillip Horne, the 1/3 stability adviser, believes the local community will appreciate the coalition forces’ Ramadan gift.
“It’s a good message to have Marines and ANA soldiers help the local government distribute the wheat,” said Phillip Horne, native of Southampton, Hampshire, England. “It shows the ANA soldiers and Marines understanding of Ramadan and the importance of this season.”
Ramadan, which begins in early August, is a month-long Islamic holiday where observers abstain from eating, drinking and non-essential activity during daylight hours. The purpose is to cleanse the body and focus on the teachings of Muhammad.