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Kuwait makes impact on OEF, Tampa community

by 2nd Lt. Erin Dorrance
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

As you stroll through Central Command's Operation Enduring Freedom Coalition Village you will find a few Arabic flags waving in the wind-- one is Kuwait. According to the Kuwaitis, its three-member team has made a huge impact on the most important stages of Operation Enduring Freedom, the rebuilding and humanitarian phase.

Although Kuwait's military consists of a Navy, Army and Air Force, the current yearlong rotation at Coalition Village consists of three Kuwaiti Army officers. Many of the officers bring their families with them to the Tampa Bay community. Kuwait Army Lt. Col. Fahed Alshelaimi, operations officer, brought his six children, ranging in age from 3 to 20 years old, with him during his tour.

"Living in Tampa Bay is a great experience for me and my family," said Colonel Alshelaimi. "We enjoy the good schools, safe neighborhoods, shopping malls and the theme parks." Working in yearlong rotations, the Kuwait staff at Coalition Village has been busy helping the United States and 52 other countries fight the war on terrorism.

"Our troops in Kuwait are very busy at home," said Kuwait Army Lt. Col. Bader Almuzayen, Chief of Kuwait Liaison Office. "Since we can't send troops, we send aid."

Kuwait has delivered 112 vehicles and hundreds of metric tons of medical, school and food supplies with the help of Canadian military and aircraft, to Central Command's area of responsibility. Not only does Kuwait support rebuilding the countries in the area of responsibility, they have not forgotten about the Tampa Bay area.

Kuwait and other countries from Coalition Village have donated more than $1,000 and 350 pounds of food to the Metropolitan Ministry at Thanksgiving for less fortunate families in Tampa Bay. They also donated more than $800 to the local Shriner's Hospital.

"The community gave us a warm welcome and we feel like we are at home, living with family and friends," said Colonel Alshelaimi. "We just wanted to show our appreciation for the area that has opened its arms to us." As Operation Enduring Freedom continues, the Kuwaiti team at Coalition Village is prepared and willing to help the world fight the war on terrorism.

"Operation Enduring Freedom has been a great success and it seems like every week we have a new country joining us here at Coalition Village," said Colonel Alshelaimi. "The world has recognized the importance of putting an end to terrorism and Coalition Village is an example of nations coming together to make the world a safe place."




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