22 January 2005

HALABJA, Iraq -- “Chonit?” Sgt. Nolan Heanu said to an Iraqi border guard who was standing in the cool crisp mountain air outside Halabja District’s Department of Border Enforcement headquarters.

With a joyful smile, the guard returned the greeting meaning, “how are you” in Kurdish.

Heanu then proceeded into the headquarters along with other Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Service Battery, Task Force 2-11 Field Artillery, where they were overwhelmed by other Iraqi guards speaking in Kurdish.

In seconds, hot Chai tea served in tiny glasses was making its way to all the Soldiers who just drove two hours from Forward Operating Base Kalsu.

The visit was part of a recent border patrol mission that the Soldiers, or Border Patrol Team 3, conducts on a weekly basis. The missions take them either into the predominantly Kurdish districts of Halabja or Darbandikhan, where they reside for a few days at each of the district’s DBE headquarters before returning to FOB Kalsu.

In those few days, Team 3 Soldiers help ensure security is tight along the desolate Iraq and Iran border by training and assessing Iraqi border guards. They also get the opportunity to see and partake in the Kurdish way of life during that time.

Whether it’s eating Kurdish food prepared by Iraqi border guards, speaking Kurdish or enjoying the mountainous landscape of the Kurdish countryside near the border, all Team 3 Soldiers have done it.  Posted by Hello


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