Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Female Marines help Iraqi women receive medical care

1st Lt. Philip W. Klay

HABBINIYAH, Iraq (June 16, 2007) -- A contingent of female Marines from 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), conducted searches of and facilitated getting medical care for Iraqi women during a Cooperative Medical Engagement in a Habbiniyah neighborhood June 16.

Soldiers from 1st Iraqi Army Division, assisted by a Marine military transition team, brought Iraqi and U.S. military physicians to the neighborhood to treat local Iraqis.

During such events, Iraqi cultural norms make the use of female Marines in handling female civilians a considerable asset, according to team leader Capt. Jennifer M. Farina. Rather than have men handle all aspects of the engagement, the female Marines conducted searches as the women entered the area, separated the woman and young children from the men, determined their needs, and facilitated them through to process of getting medical care.

This served to make the Iraqi civilians feel comfortable during the engagement.

“There’s a tangible result of interacting with people, exchanging with them, not only knowing what their issues and problems are but trying to resolve them,” said Farina, a Montgomery, Mass. native.

Over 500 Iraqi civilians were treated at the Cooperative Medical Engagement, receiving assistance with a wide variety of medical complaints.

Cpl. Julia K. Venegas, who also took part, explained the value of such engagements.

“This is winning a war for hearts and minds,” said the Lubbock, Texas native. “I think they can see that we’re really trying to help and the Iraqi Army is really trying to help and more people will become even more cooperative.”
Emphasis mine.

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