22 January 2005

Friends are easy to come by with the Kurdish, because overall they are friendly, said Spc. Nick Wegner, a M249 squad automatic weapon gunner with Team 3.

Wegner also feels that working with the Kurds makes his team’s mission unlike any other Army mission in Iraq.

“Our experiences are completely different than probably anybody in the Army as far as this country goes,” Wegner said. “Not too many people get to work with the more peaceful people of Iraq in the most peaceful portion of Iraq.”

One of the team’s experiences has been a learning one. “It’s been a fun learning experience,” Wegner said. We each learned a good portion of their language and we’ve taught them pieces of ours.”

Heanu, who is a mechanic with Team 3, can always be found chatting with the Iraqi border guards in Kurdish.

“I’m a people person,” he said.

Besides the fact that he’s talkative, Heanu intermingles with the Kurds since they remind him of his own people -- the Hawaiians.

“Their culture is almost the same as Hawaiian,” Heanu said. “The Hawaiian people have a lot of respect for the people, just like the Kurdish people. They are very welcoming.”

Heanu has even participated in many Kurdish daily life routines that are different than in Papakolea, where he is from on Oahu.

He has helped butcher a lamb with Iraqi border guards, cut off the heads of live chickens and cooked Kurdish wheat bread inside a stove made of stone.

Team 3 Soldiers also endure the colder weather that chills this part of Iraq. There are no central heating units built into the buildings, only a kerosene heater the Soldiers huddle around for warmth. And forget about any chances of a warm shower. Posted by Hello


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