Wednesday, October 08, 2003


That's gotta come in handy.

1-37 Armor is based here in Friedberg.
Helmy’s Arab ancestry carries a lot of weight with the Iraqis, Bishop said.

“He’s more trusted than the ... Iraqi translators who are doing it for the money,” said Bishop. “They have not been 100 percent accepted.”

With Helmy, Iraqis know exactly where he stands.

“They understand they are talking to a soldier,” Bishop said, “a soldier who speaks Arabic.”

Many Iraqis think Helmy is an Egyptian who just works for the Americans, Helmy said.

“I think to them, it means a lot that he’s an Arab brother,” said Bishop. “He’s opened up more doors” than an Iraqi interpreter could.

But Helmy has provided more than just help with the language, Bishop said.

“The big thing I used him for, more so in the beginning, was his understanding of Arab culture,” he said. “He was born and raised in Egypt and understands it. He’s taught me about Arab culture and social mores.”

Oh...and then the story mentions this...

Bishop’s first mission of the day was to deliver the desks to two Baghdad schools that had been renovated and repainted by soldiers, Iraqis and nongovernmental organizations. The 501st Forward Support Battalion donated the desks and the Bandits’ family readiness group in Germany donated school supplies.

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