AR RAMADI, Iraq -- A local hospital here running low on medication and other supplies had its healthcare resources fully replenished by Marines and soldiers.
Elements from 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, with help from the Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, delivered four sea containers of medical supplies – valued at more than $500,000 – to the Ramadi Maternity and Children’s Hospital.
The supplies ranged from heart monitors and antibiotics to new bed sheets and bandages.
The operation was conducted in an effort to improve medical care for residents of the city, according to Capt. John W. Maloney, commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
“The hospital was in dire need of the supplies we brought here today,” the 36-year-old from Chicopee, Mass., said while standing in the facility’s parking lot overseeing supplies being offloaded from the trucks. “The mission shows the Iraqi people that the Marines (and coalition forces) mean well.”
The hospital, which is located in the infantry battalion’s area of operations, is the largest specialized infant and maternity care facility in the Al Anbar Province. It delivers an average of 20 newborns each day, a hospital spokesman said.
The commander of Detachment 3, 5th Civil Affairs Group, spearheaded the humanitarian aid mission.
Lieutenant Col. Gary A. Jackson said an official with Iraqi Ministry of Health contacted him a few weeks earlier and requested medical supplies to be delivered to the hospital.
“I felt it was very important to get these supplies to the medical staff so they can provide their patients with proper care,” said the 47-year-old from Oak Creek, Wis.
Through Jackson’s coordination, soldiers with BCT-2 transported the supplies from 5th CAG’s headquarters in Fallujah to Ramadi. They linked up with Marines from 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, at their base, Camp Hurricane Point, and were escorted to the hospital.
Marines with Companies C and W as well as a squad of Iraqi Security Forces protected the site from insurgent interference during the operation.
Marines with Team 1, 5th CAG, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, assisted the hospital staff in the unloading and organization of supplies for movement into the hospital, keeping patient services from being interrupted.
Maj. Benjamin B. Busch, team leader for Team 1, talked with the hospital’s director and said he was overjoyed by the delivery. It was a much larger shipment than he had ever expected, said the 36-year-old from College Park, Md.
Hospital staff members, Marines, soldiers, and even local residents worked together unloading the supplies. A school across the street let out early after teachers there witnessed what was taking place. More than 40 Iraqi boys rushed over and joined the effort.
The whole process took more than two hours.
“This is positive feedback,” Maloney said while watching smiling Iraqis carry armloads of supplies from the truck containers into the hospital. “Being able to do a mission like this means the conditions in Ramadi are improving. It’s real positive seeing the Iraqi people respond this way and help.”
Corporal Jonathan N. Ota, a rifleman and squad leader for 2nd Squad, 4th Platoon, Company C, and his fellow squad members helped provide security during the mission. The 22-year-old from Worchester, Mass. was optimistic about the mission.
“They need these supplies to help their patients,” said the 2001 Doherty Memorial High School graduate. “It’s a good thing were doing here. It’s rewarding knowing we’re helping the people.”
Jackson, too, shared the same optimism.
“The staff and the local Iraqis seemed very happy with what we did for them today,” he said. “I hope they tell the other people in Ramadi about what we did. We want the Iraqis to know that the Americans are here to help them restore their infrastructure. I think we accomplished that today.”