Kirkuk Amusement Park hosts Iraqi police families
The high-pitched sound of children laughing and a rollercoaster’s rumble were heard at the Kirkuk Amusement Park on the outskirts of Kirkuk City, Aug. 18.
Iraqi Police (IP), their children, and U.S. Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, traveled in groups, wandering the park looking for the best rides.
Weeks of planning went into this event and many local IP enjoyed the opportunity to bring their families to the park and introduce them to the U.S. Soldiers they work with on a regular basis.
“This is the first chance I have had to bring my family to the amusement park,” said Capt. Louay Wahad Ali, an IP from the local area who brought his nephews along with him. “They really like it because they feel safe and can relax and have fun.”
“It is very fun to come here with my uncle,” exclaimed Ali ‘s 10-year-old nephew, Mustafa. “I love it!”
Besides giving the IP and their families a chance to get away from the city and take some much deserved time off, the event was also an opportunity for U.S. Soldiers to see the IP in a new light.
“It’s good to see the IP out and having fun,” said Spc. Jorge Huizar, a Paladin mechanic with Battery G, 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. “We can have fun with them.”
For Huizar, going to an amusement park in Iraq was an unusual and welcomed surprise considering he is normally in the gunner’s seat and dismounts on missions in and around Kirkuk.
“I did not expect to go any place like this,” he said. “It’s good to feel this kind of atmosphere, especially in Iraq.”
Also present that evening was the Lion of Kirkuk, the official mascot of the Kirkuk Police, who introduced himself to the children with a resounding “Roar!”
After touring the park, the IP, children and Soldiers made their way to the rollercoaster, where they took turns riding together.
“I like the rollercoaster the most,” said Mustafa. “I’m not scared of it.”
This fearlessness will suit Mustafa well as he plans on following in his uncle’s footsteps by becoming an IP officer.
“I love seeing my uncle in his uniform; it makes me very proud,” he said. “I hope when I grow up I can wear the same thing.”
As the night came to a close, IP and Soldiers alike chatted about how much they would like to do this again soon, and plans were made for another amusement park visit in the near future.
“I would love to see this type of mission again,” said Huizar with a broad smile on his face.
By Pfc. Justin Naylor
1st Cavalry Division
This entry was posted on Monday, August 31st, 2009 at 12:00 pm and is filed under War on Terror, Iraq, War on Terror, Iraq, Rebuilding, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.