Winning Hearts with Cultural Awareness
Baker, Jason B., Betancourt, Alberto, Soldiers Magazine
Camp Champion, Kuwait
CULTURAL awareness was one of the primary weapons the Army wanted to use to win the hearts and minds of Iraq's people.
Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, 82nd Airborne Division soldiers prepared themselves and others for this mission.
"Today was real basic," said SFC Eric Sifford, an assistant platoon leader from Company B, 313th Military Intelligence Battalion. "We taught the soldiers a few greetings and written Arabic words; the things that will save their lives."
Instructors taught basic commands such as "stop" and "drop your weapon." Soldiers also learned to recognize such Arabic words as "danger" and "mines."
"These are the things they're going to run into on the battlefield," said SGT Seth Harvey, an Arabic linguist in Co. B. "We care about the individual soldiers. We wanted to give them basic skills to help them avoid accidents."
Many soldiers agreed with Harvey that the training was important. …