Rare Iraqi tribal honor bestowed to SoldierWritten by 1st Infantry Division Headquarters PAO
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 11:51
WASIT PROVINCE – Throughout U.S. military history, service members have been awarded for actions performed above and beyond the call of duty. Not coincidentally, tribes in Iraq follow this same tradition; honoring those in their clan most-deserving of special recognition for their accomplishments.
Lt. Col Mike Bush greets the shaykh of the Katawi Tribe during a meeting in Wasit province, March 2, 2010. The shaykh bestowed the Yashmagh, the traditional head covering of Arabic tribesmen, and Agal, the traditional wool headband, to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team’s Bush, the first American since T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) to receive the tribal honor. U.S. Army photo by 1st Infantry Division Headquarters PAO.
The "Yashmagh," the traditional head covering of Arabic tribesmen, and the black wool "Agal" headband, are given to members of a tribe as a symbol of trust and honor. The highly-inclusive distinction is usually kept within the tribe, and formal ceremonies to present the Agal and Yashmagh to "outsiders" are rare.
For Lt. Col. Mike Bush, a Security Transition Team officer with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, receiving the traditional head covering was a tremendous privilege. The shaykh of the Katawi Tribe placed the Yashmagh on Bush during a formal ceremony here, March 2.
Though it is sometimes worn by those who have never even set foot in the Middle East as either a fashion or political statement, the actual presentation of the honor to Westerners by a tribe is rare.
From what he had been able to gather, the Agal may not have been formally presented to a Westerner in several decades, Bush said.
"A lot of Americans have been given the Agal and headdress, but this is the first time it's been officially given since [T.E.] Lawrence [of Arabia]," he said....
There is more to this great B*N*S*N story here.