War on Terrorism

Monday, January 26, 2009

On the Ground: U.S. Forces Build Checkpoints, Renovate Town Hall in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

Jan. 26, 2009 - Besides their regular military duties, U.S. forces in Iraq oversee many building and humanitarian projects. In recent days, they have helped Iraqis complete construction on security checkpoints, a town hall and greenhouses, and helped provide a generator that will keep a health clinic open 24 hours per day. The 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team infrastructure coordination unit supervised the building of nine checkpoints on Airport Road, about five miles of highway connecting Baghdad to southern Iraq.

The brigade's 1st Special Troops Battalion hired local Iraqi contractors to construct the checkpoints. The contractors poured reinforced concrete, fixed lights to illuminate the access points and built an environmentally controlled office to serve the national police, who used to operate the checkpoints from their vehicles, Army Lt. Col. Dave Hill, the battalion commander, said.

The battalion provided its own assets to remove more than 2,000 concrete walls and earthen barriers that once lined Airport Road, while the contractors painted, fixed bridges and repaired the road, Hill said.

Airport Road "today looks very different than six months ago," said Hill, who is on his third deployment to Iraq. "The day-to-day conditions that the Iraqis live and work in every day have improved drastically."

In other news:

-- Iraqi and U.S. military logistics leaders came together Jan. 24 at Camp Taji, northwest of Baghdad, to discuss Iraqi and coalition achievements and issues that need more attention. The meeting was the sixth in which Iraqi army commanders met with their counterparts in the embedded provincial reconstruction team of the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team to solve important issues. "This is important, because we get to share our achievements and come up with solutions to our problems," an Iraqi army colonel said.

-- Local officials from Baghdad's Kadhamiyah district celebrated the re-opening of their new meeting hall Jan. 24, thanks to the help of the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team embedded provisional reconstruction team and State Department officials. The addition, which cost nearly $129,000 and was funded through a State Department grant, took about four months to complete. The new building provides more space and improvements such as microphones, air conditioners and heaters to the rooms used by the council's 17 committees. Besides overseeing the renovations, the PRT helped the local government create its bylaws for conducting business.

-- Community leaders and coalition soldiers conducted a ground-breaking ceremony for the Radwaniyah greenhouse project in southwestern Baghdad on Jan. 22. Leaders from the 4th Infantry Division's 10th Cavalry Regiment watched with their Iraqi security forces partners as the Radwaniyah farmer's cooperation association erected the first of 100 planned greenhouses. The greenhouses will be built on 10 sites and are owned by the farmers' cooperative. Raad Hanna, the PRT's agricultural advisor, said the greenhouses will increase the farmer's vegetable crop yields to make the harvest more productive and earn the farmers more money in Baghdad's market places. Seeds and fertilizer will be furnished by the farmer's organization. The farmers will receive training in techniques designed to boost their crop production. They plan to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, okra, beans and other vegetables.

-- Residents of Wynot, about 12 miles south of Tikrit, can visit the town's health clinic any time, day or night, thanks to a generator provided by coalition forces and Wynot City Council on Jan. 22. In the past, the health clinic usually had electricity for only a few hours a day, because reliable 24-hour power is not yet available for the entire area. With the new generator, the clinic now runs on continuous power.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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