OIC In Action

Spring/Summer 2003 / Operation Iraqi Freedom I

I stood up in the Humvee to take the first picture showing Marine Captain Bowman and his Corporal working with the locals in Ad Diwaniyah near the Marine logistics headquarters in Iraq during OIF I. Captain Bowman was with Civil Affairs his Corporal (name escapes me) was acting as our
interpreter. He was from southern California but was born in Kuwait of Palestinian parents. The gray haired man in the center is the tribal leader representing one small group of people in that area that was competing for limited resources. We helped to settle disputes over water rights and when the picture was taken he was providing us with names from each family in his tribe that we could hire to rebuild their university. He was trusted and very careful about including a fair number of workers from each family since the income they would receive would be a welcome contribution. When the tribal leader was given a ride in the Humvee he beamed with pride and the gesture seemed to elevate his status even more.

The children were shy at first but their curiosity brought them closer. Again, they were drawn by their own images on the LED screen of my digital camera. Once their fathers saw that they were they object of my interest, they let them gather close for more pictures. Their mothers and any daughters that had reached adolescence stayed out of sight.

LtCol Lon VomBaur
I MEF, G4, Supply Officer