By Spc. Anna-Marie Hizer, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
AMU SHABI, Iraq – A smile can light up one’s face… and today, more than 200 Iraqis had a reason to smile.
Iraqi Army troops, along with U.S. Special Forces medics, Civil Affairs and 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division Soldiers, traveled to a school in Amu Shabi, Iraq, to provide a Dental Assessment and Care Clinic for local citizens.
“[We are] concentrating on dental support,” said a Special Forces medic, who asked that his name be withheld. “It allows us to give something back to the community.”
The group spent five hours evaluating and treating patients of all ages. They performed extractions and temporary fillings and gave tips on proper oral hygiene – tips that, according to the medics, are vital to helping the people maintain their teeth.
“It’s a lack of knowledge,” the SF medic said. “We’re giving them classes on proper dental hygiene.”
Another reason for the assessment was to show the Iraqi Army’s and Minister of Health’s presence in the area.
“It helps enforce the [position of] the IA and the Iraqi Ministry of Health,” medics said. “It shows the Iraqi people that their health care system does work.”
Major Jack Scharrett, Company B, 451st Civil Affairs Battalion, added that their presence will help reinforce the people’s belief in their government.
“We have seen some problems and some unrest [in the area],” he said. “So we want to ensure that the people know that the government of Iraq is helping them.”
The medics noted that the response was good, reflected by the massive turnout at the small school.
“The response has been fantastic,” they said. “They’re grateful for the IA’s interest in their community.”