Dear Interested Readers,
I came across a couple of inspiring stories of the US Army Corps of Engineers, that really get no publicity at all. Between these stories and the story of shoe drive in the states for barefoot children in a village in Iraq, invigorates pride for our country and our compassionate troops. There's also positive stories of 2 schools being reopened and refurbished, and continued success in Baqoubah. Through pictures we see what a patrol is like for our troops in Mosul.
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
March 16, 2008
Cache discovery highlights continuing successes in Baqouba
BAQUBA - March 15, Soldiers from the 4th Stryker BCT, 2nd ID discovered rocket-propelled grenade launchers on the roof of a home while on a routine patrol. The rooftop is connected to another home where the Soldiers found a mortar tube, additional RPG rounds and numerous mortar rounds hidden a barrel buried in the courtyard. The resident of the first house was detained by the Soldiers.
Since the beginning of March, Coalition troops have discovered several significant caches in the Baquba-area. They have also detained several known IED and suicide-vest cell members, including 2 suspected female suicide bombers.
"CF in Baqouba continue to relentlessly pursue insurgent activity, continue to find caches and disrupt AQI (al Qaeda-in-Iraq) cells, and will continue to detain all individuals associated with illegal movement
of weapons." said Maj. John Burpo, an ops officer. "Local nationals and our recent detainees continue to provide intel on insurgent networks in greater numbers, and recent successes are indicative of AQIs weakening position in Baqouba."
Attacks against CF, Iraqi SF and civilians in Baqouba - the former AQI stronghold - have decreased by more than 80 percent since June 2007.
Iraqi SWAT team recovers weapons cache in Al-Iskandariyah
BALAD - March 13, following up on a call from a citizen to the ISWAT tip line, a Hillah ISWAT team conducted an Iraqi-only op and recovered what they believe to be an al AQI weapons cache for use against CF bases in north Babil.
The cache consisted of 9 122mm rockets, 2 122mm artillery rounds with detonation cord, a 152mm artillery round with detonation cord, and 4 artillery fuses.
Heavy Company, 3d ACR, patrols west Mosul
1st Lt. Brandon Harper and Sgt. Michael Elizano, stopping to ask locals if they had seen any insurgent activity or had any other problems that CF may be able to help resolve.
Staff Sgt. Josiah Guthland provides security during a patrol.
Staff Sgt. Josiah Guthland scans a rooftop in Mosul, while providing security.
Girls’ School Gets Computers, Furnished Internet Center
By Sgt. 1st Class Stacy Niles
Sgt. Amanda Timmer, the Wasit Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) head of women’s initiative and program manager, talks with students at the al Kut Girls Secondary School after the ribbon cutting for a new Internet center March 10. The center features 10 new computers and furniture.
FOB DELTA — While the school’s infrastructure may be behind the times, students’ education has been thrust into the modern era. The school, established in 1932, educates 1,000 females, grades 10 to 12.
The center will be used by female students throughout the province, said the school manager, Zahrah Aljdrey. Students will now be able to do research and work on projects. The center will also allow the girls to complete exams they would otherwise have to travel to Baghdad to take.
For Sgt. Amanda Timmer, the project provided her with a feeling of satisfaction. “It was great especially after talking with the girls and seeing how optimistic and energetic they were,” Timmer said. “It was as if they could sense that the world was at their fingertips. Like they knew they were the future of Iraq.”
The project was a cooperative effort between the Wasit PRT, the Wasit provincial council and the Iraqi Dir. Gen. of Education.
Al-Qudis Preparatory School is back for the future of Iraq
March 15, 2008
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, GULF REGION DIVISION
by Kendal Smith
Gulf Region Central district
BAGHDAD - According to locals, the school was a frequent target of insurgents because of the location in a wealthy neighborhood and the reputation as one of the leading boys’ schools in Baghdad. When a terrorist explosion in late summer claimed the nearby Baghdad Satellite TV Channel, it was the last straw for holding classes at Qudis. The school was further, extensively damaged, shut down and temporarily abandoned. With improved security and the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), things have changed dramatically for the better.
“All the school was damaged from the blast. But now, with the rehabilitation, the school is more beautiful than before. The students are eager to attend and study,” said Chemistry teacher Enas Abdullah, through a translator.
Completed and reopened a month ahead of schedule, the more than $568,000 project was overseen by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Smith, the USACE International Zone Resident Office chief. “It’s a great feeling of accomplishment, going there and seeing the kids use the school. All in all, a good news story,” he said during a recent visit to show the school to media. “Here’s a good example of the way things are supposed to work,” Smith continued. He went on to explain the process for this particular project. Coming from the Provincial Reconstruction Development Council to USACE to execute and supervise, Smith explained Qudis was an Iraqi concept and design, completed by an Iraqi contractor, with the oversight of an Iraqi USACE project engineer. Money for the project came from the Economic Support Fund.
According to the contractor, there was great support from the local residents as they frequently offered food and encouragement to the workers.
In another certain mark of improvements both in education and security, student Mahmud offers that his “. . . hope for Iraq is improving the electricity,” and the goal of teenagers everywhere, “. . . and lifting the curfew in all the country.”
Navy Cmdr. Steve Seaman distributes shoes donated by Robyn Comeau, wife of US Army Corps of Engineers Adder Area Office engineer Charles Comeau, to villagers in a small town in southern Iraq. The village is the site of a water compact unit the Corps is installing and near completion. Comeau noticed the children lacked adequate footwear for the winter season and his wife organized the shoe drive in the US.
GRS Cmdr. Col teve Hill attracts a crowd of Iraqi children while visiting a water compact unit project at Al Takadoom village in Wasit provine. The children will have access to clean water once the project is completed in 2008.