By Army Capt. LaRue Meehan
Special to American Forces Press Service
Nov. 14, 2008 - In addition to their mission of restoring and improving Iraq's infrastructure, civil-military operations soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, also are adjusting to the changing dynamics of operations as U.S. forces turn more areas over to Iraqi control.
"In Diwaniyah, I have been working with the provincial reconstruction team to help the Iraqis develop systems that will enable their government to take care of their people," Army 1st Lt. Keith Phelan, a 2-8th civil-military operations officer, said.
The team comprises civilians from various specialties -- State Department personnel and experts in infrastructure development, government, politics and law -- who volunteered to deploy to Iraq and advise the Iraqi government.
The 2-8th civil-military operations section integrated with several brigade assets, including the provincial reconstruction and civil affairs teams, to better grasp the status of infrastructure in Iraq's Qadisiyah province, Phelan said. The civil affairs team consists of four to six soldiers who specialize in assessing services and executing projects to benefit the local population.
The cooperative efforts developed by the civil-military operations soldiers enabled them to extend their reach and begin conducting assessments of projects begun by the Polish army prior to the arrival of U.S. forces, Phelan said. The projects are focused primarily on building infrastructure and increasing education opportunities for the local population.
(Capt. LaRue Meehan serves in Multinational Division Center with the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)