I spoke with one of their officers, LtCol Story, who had heard about Spirit of America providing Mameluke swords, an item traditionally worn by Marine Corps officers, as tokens of friendship to tribal sheikhs in Iraq. These sheikhs had been cooperating with Marines stations in Al Anbar to bring peace and stability to Iraq’s most violent province. General John Allen, Deputy Commanding General of U.S. forces in Western Iraq during that time had emailed us after the swords were delivered, saying: “Your role in this was, again, pivotal to our being able to cement a variety of relationships among the sheikhs. We are deeply grateful.” LtCol Story’s plan was to provide the Mameluke sword to the Guest of Honor and Marine Corps Ka-Bar Fighting Knives to the other influential Afghan officers from the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command who had been invited.
While Iraq was a different country at a different time, the same SOF truth applies: Humans are more important than hardware. The concept of building and preserving relationships is lost on some people, but the Marines understood it. Spirit of America was able to order the mementos and have them shipped directly to the base in time for the ceremony. It was an honor to be part of such a great event involving the US Army, Afghan forces and the last remaining Marines in Afghanistan.
As the media talks about troops withdrawing from various locations like Afghanistan, let’s not forget that there are still Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and others serving and fighting in various conflict zones around the world. Just because they aren’t in the news as much as they have been the last few years doesn’t mean the troops aren’t still out there protecting America and her interests abroad. At Spirit of America, we look forward to continuing to support them in their mission.
Field Operations Project Manager