Servicemembers reaching out to Pakistanis with gifts, friendship
Despite the fast pace of treating patients at their field hospital, Okinawa-based servicemembers now in Pakistan recently took time to reach out to local communities, delivering supplies to Pakistanis displaced by the Oct. 8 earthquake.
Marines and sailors from Combined Medical Relief Team 3 visited tent villages Monday in the Seran Valley area near Wazirabad, Pakistan, and handed out winter hats, scarves and portable radios, according to a Marine Corps news release. More than 100 of the items were distributed as “gestures of good will and friendship,” the release stated.
The hats and scarves have the United States and Pakistan flags on them, the release said, and the radios are solar powered.
“The scarves and hats should help keep them warm while the portable radios will help raise their morale and keep them better informed,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Ruth.
According to Team 3 executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Joe Patterson, “The Pakistanis are not only an ally, they are our friends. Our mission is humanitarian in nature — to help these people stay warm and informed.”
In addition to the visit to the tent village, the Marines and sailors have various other interactions with locals, according to Capt. Danny Chung, CMRT 3 spokesman.
Around Christmas, the servicemembers celebrated with local children in Shinkiari, Pakistan, by handing out toys, candy and hats.
Chung said they also have painted kitchens in Jaba Farms community centers built by the Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, based in Gulfport, Miss., but deployed to Okinawa. They even made time to play a little cricket with children there.