MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ

PRESS DESK

BAGHDAD, Iraq

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Press Release A080129a

January 29, 2008

 

Chief of the Army Reserve visits troops at Camp Bucca

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq ˆê Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief, Army Reserve, and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, visited Camp Bucca Jan. 19 to meet with Army Reserve Soldiers and tour the detention facility.

 

Stultz joined Soldiers for lunch at the dining facility and addressed challenges facing the Reserve today, including deployment cycles.

 

ˆíThe Army Reserve is no longer a strategic reserve but an operational force --trained and ready to deploy,ˆì said Stultz.

 

Stultz went on to discuss the importance of Reserve Soldiers to the civilian workforce.  ˆíArmy Reserve Soldiers are tested under fire, team players, and they understand ˆîfollowershipˆï ˆê when to lead and when to follow.  Thatˆïs the difference.  Employers recognize the value that you bring to their force, the employment force.ˆì

 

Stultz has been working with many employers to develop ways to allow ˆíwarrior citizensˆì to solve conflicts between their civilian employment and Army duties like mobilization.  Stultz discussed with the Camp Bucca Soldiers how important these issues are to him, stressing the message that Reserve Soldiers are a vital part of both the civilian community and the Army.

 

ˆíWe are one Army, just on different statuses,ˆì said Stultz.  ˆíEveryone in this room right now is Active Army.ˆì

 

Stultz also toured Camp Bucca and experienced the detention operations first-hand, including a relatively new range of programs and services designed to equip detainees for an eventual return to society.

 

Educational, vocational and religious programs help equip detainees to re-enter Iraq society as productive and educated individuals.  Former detainees can contribute to a brighter future for the Iraqi people.

 

Initial evaluations of detainees consistently reveal that many have little or no education and few employable skills.  Such individuals are easy prey to insurgents, who offer them relatively large amounts of money to engage in violent acts against their fellow Iraqis and Coalition forces.

 

In response to this, Camp Bucca operates a spectrum of schools, from the more formal Freedom School, where detainees receive up to a fifth-grade education, to Inter-Compound schools and discussion groups, where educated detainees teach those who have not benefited from formal education.

 

ˆíFor some of our detainees, Camp Bucca is the first place in their life that offered them the chance at an education,ˆì said Army Col. James Brown, the commander of Camp Bucca.

 

Detainees also develop practical skills to increase their chances of being successful in the Iraqi workplace.  The hope is that they will leave detention with marketable skills and thus will be better able to earn a productive living.

 

Detainees have a chance to practice their skills while on Camp Bucca.  Most recently, detainees have constructed and painted an entire school building and tiled the new visitation center, where their families come to spend time with them.

 

Additionally, the spiritual lives of detainees are not neglected on Camp Bucca.  Voluntary religious discussion sessions provide detainees the opportunity to study the Quran and its application to daily life.  The religious discussions are led by Iraqi Imams and scholars, who prepare the detainees to resist false teachings of radical extremist leaders. 

 

Detainees on Camp Bucca are encouraged to practice the religion of their choice.  They are offered a prayer carpet and Quran as part of their personal belongings, and they are allowed to celebrate religious festivals.  During Stultzˆï visit, detainees were celebrating Ashura, a festival commemorating the death of the Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, in a seventh century battle near Karbala. Detainees dressed in traditional costumes and reenacted the battle.   

 

These educational, vocational and religious programs help equip detainees to re-enter Iraqi society as productive and educated individuals.  With their newfound skills and understanding, former detainees can contribute to a brighter future for Iraq.

 

Stultz also participated in a detainee review board.  Camp Bucca has instituted a formal review process of detaineesˆï cases, in which detainees go before a board.  The three-person panel reviews their record with them, discusses ways in which they can work towards eventual release, and recommends each detainee for release, internment with educational/vocational programs, or continued internment. 

 

Stultz spoke highly of Camp Bucca, its programs for detainees and its service members.  ˆíThe greatest thing the Army has going on is whatˆïs in this room,ˆì he said.  ˆíYou are a truly quality force.ˆì

 

 

Photo: 080119-A-2518S-011 Lt. General Jack C. Stultz, Chief U.S. Army Reserve, meets with Soldiers of the 391st Military Police Battalion at Camp Bucca, Iraq.  The 391st MP Battalion is in charge of the care and custody of some of the 20,000 detainees.  In addition to providing for the detaineesˆï safe custody, culturally appropriate meals, medical care, Camp Bucca also offers detainees education and vocational training in order to prepare them to find employment as productive citizens upon their eventual release from detention. (US Army photo by Capt. Corey Schultz, Camp Bucca Public Affairs)

 

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