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Corpsmen and surgeons lend a healing hand

NATHARA, Iraq (June 13, 2008) -- A good deed was provided to residents of a small village outside of Rutbah, Iraq, June 12.


by Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

Navy corpsmen and surgeons from different units assigned to Multi-National Forces – West, Iraq, teamed up to offer the people here medical services.

“We are here to provide them with medical care that they aren’t able to get normally,” said Navy Lt. Michael W. Pruitt, 32, a surgeon with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, who is from Jacksonville, N.C. “It’s good to be able to let the people know that we are here to help.”

The operation was planned to repay the friendship the small village has offered to 2nd LAR since their arrival in theater.

Setting up a large tent in the middle of the village, the service members provided the Iraqi men and women of all ages with water, medical diagnosis and medicine. The residents were greeted just as if it were a doctor’s office in the United States, except without the building.

“It’s a chance to give back to the people. They don’t have a chance to go to a regular hospital like we do in the Marine Corps,” said Seaman Christopher A. Brewer, 23, a line corpsman with Charlie Company, 2nd LAR. “As corpsmen, we are medically specialized to treat their illnesses before they get any worse.”

The corpsmen provided medical care all day with sicknesses ranging from high blood pressure to tonsillitis until each resident was seen by a certified surgeon and cared for. Because of the hard work the sailors put forth in the operation, it left a good impression on the residents themselves.

“I’m glad the Coalition forces came out here to care for us,” said Razzi Abbu Ali, 35, a resident of Nathara. “We were able to get medicine we needed for a long time.”

In addition to being able to help citizens of Iraq, it left the sailors feeling heavily honored to participate in such an operation.

“It provides us with time to really get to know the people for who they are and what their needs are,” said Brewer, who is from Jacksonville, Fla. “This is a rewarding time to be able to see these people today.”