By A. Al Bahrani
Special to American Forces Press Service
Feb. 4, 2009 - Looking ahead to the future of Iraq, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division in Iraq is transitioning much of its focus to ensuring the infrastructure built is sustainable and far outlasts the U.S. presence. To help Iraqi technicians and generator operators improve their skills, the Basra Provincial Reconstruction Team and USACE representatives held a four-day generator operations and safety training course at a technical training facility here.
About 15 Iraqi government technicians and generator operators from different directorates attended the course Jan. 25 to 28. They learned about proper use of personal protective equipment, first aid for electrical shock, logbook entries, preventive maintenance and generator operations, Army Maj. Fred Owens, the Basra PRT engineer, said.
"The course was very good and useful," Mohamed Abdulwahab, generator operator with Basra's education directorate, said. "We thought we knew a lot about safety and personal protective equipment, but during the course we discovered that our past knowledge about these things was limited, and now we are much better prepared."
Electricians with the 249th Engineer Battalion served as instructors.
"The aim of the course is to improve upon the generator operation skills the various participants already possessed and to instill a safety-oriented thought process to all the work they conduct," Army Staff Sgt. Manuel Cervantez III, the battalion's senior power plant operator, said. He is serving as the electrical technician at the $163.8 million Basra Children's Hospital construction project.
This was the first, but it will not be the last generator operations training course, Army Lt. Col. Humberto "Bear" Ramirez, officer in charge for the Basra Area Office, said.
(A. Al Bahrani works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South district.)