By Kevin Casey
Special to American Forces Press Service
Nov. 20, 2007 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing a number of road improvement projects in Iraq, including a one-mile stretch on Victory Base Complex here. And while that particular project may be "inside the wire," it is having an impact in town. Hayder Mohammad, 26, is among those commuting from their Baghdad homes every day to help upgrade a gravel road into a paved main thoroughfare. "I like this job. It's steady work. They treat me well here, and the money is good." He said the security situation in Baghdad is better than what it was six months ago. "Step by step, things are improving, and I'm happy with that."
Construction manager Zuhair Bandar, whose firm has 80 people working on a half-dozen infrastructure projects on Victory base, said he is proud to help. "We feel like we're part of the soldiers of the Corps of Engineers," he said. "We are here at any time, 24 hours. Whenever we are needed, you will find us."
USACE construction representative Wayne Birgado called the project a "win-win situation."
"The Iraqis are eager to learn," he said. "They're pretty good workers. We're trying to show them the best way we can, and they're willing to learn."
When the new road is finished, Bandar's crew will move on to another project, making progress for Iraq one mile at a time.
(Kevin Casey is a public affairs officer with Gulf Region Central district, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq).