It was an hour and a half drive taking Task Force Pathfinder’s five humvees to the project location near Al Chubayish, Iraq, in the southern corner of the Dhi Qar province. The journey, led by Iraqi police, took them through the provincial capital of Nasiriyah, undergoing massive reconstruction, out along the vast farmland and past what’s left of the historic marshes.
For Task Force 2nd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, movements to project locations like this are a daily routine.
However, on this day, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, responsible for aiding the Dhi Qar Provincial Reconstruction Team, were out to check on the progress of a project that could yield long-term success benefits for the people of, Al Chubayish.
The Al Chubayish municipal council recently learned of a new, stronger type of brick. It is made from 45 percent of their local clay and 55 percent cement, and yet doesn’t require oven heat to solidify. As it turns out, all it needs is sunlight.
By avoiding the brick-baking process altogether, the fuel consumption and the required transportation to the construction site â€“ the bricks can be manufactured onsite — the cost could decrease. Additionally, “solar powered” process eliminates the air pollution of baking bricks.
The Municipal Council decided to use the new bricks to construct an office building, municipally run, for the purpose of promoting the use of the brick. The building will even have living space for workers to maintain extended hours during this busy reconstruction period. The project was proposed to the Dhi Qar PRT and approved by the provincial government.
Hadir Bashitt, a worker on the site, guided the Army engineer assigned to the project, 1st. Lt. Paul Goode, around the newly laid foundation for the building.
The structure will serve as an example of the types of bricks while operating as the center for selling these bricks for other city construction, Bashitt said.
It is the age-old virtue of doing more with less and making a lasting impact.
Hadir described how the word has already reached the outskirts of town without any advertising. However, he did mention they are constructing a sign to put on the road in case anyone hasn’t heard.
Story by Capt. John Landry