In the small, impoverished neighborhood of Huzzeran, near Kirkuk, Iraq, jobs are few and far between. Drinkable water is not readily available, and the school in the area doesnâ€™t have running water.
A week after a clearing operation led by an Iraqi emergency service unit and Iraqi Police in the neighborhood, Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment delivered essential supplies, Oct. 3, in this area, which is often referred to by local residents as the â€œLost City.â€
â€œThings are bad here – people here donâ€™t have work or anything really,â€ said Mohammed Sadek, a teacher at the neighborhoodâ€™s school. â€œItâ€™s very good that [U.S. Forces] are helping the people here who are without jobs.â€
One of the goals of this mission was to assess the civil issues of the area and gather information about immediate needs.
â€œWe need good water here in the school,â€ said Mohammed Sadek, â€œThe children like coming to the school, but there are certain things it needs.â€
The Soldiers were able to pinpoint 100 families in the area that were most in need, with the assistance of Brig. Gen. Hijran, commander of the Iraqi ESU, and Col. Adnan, the chief of the Adallah Iraqi Police district.
â€œToday was a great success,â€ said Capt. Tyler Donnell, the commander of Bravo Battery, 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. â€œ[U.S. Forces] have been doing this for years, but with the help of Col. Adnan and Gen. Hijran, we were able to help the people who need it most.â€
The delivery presented an opportunity for the Adallah Iraqi Police, the emergency service unit and U.S. Forces to open lines of communication between the community, its civil leaders and local security forces.
â€œIt is a great thing the [U.S. Forces] have done for the people of Adallah,â€ said Col. Adnan, the chief of the Adallah Iraqi Police in the area. â€œIt is a way of reassuring the people that they are not forgotten by anyone.â€
The humanitarian assistance drop was performed at the Hamza Bin Ab Al Mutlik School, a central point in the neighborhood.
â€œThe school gave us a semi-secure location to do the delivery,â€ said Donnell. â€œWe chose to do it on a Saturday because school would be out.â€
Bravo Battery has tentatively planned future assistance drops and evaluations to further assist the people of this neighborhood.
Posts Tagged ‘kirkuk iraq’
President Herbert Hoover once said, “Children are our most valuable resource.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with city officials here to cultivate that valuable resource through the construction of six new city parks. The parks are a part of the Kirkuk Reconciliation Initiative and are situated and designed to provide a safe, clean recreational area for Kirkuk’s more than 40,000 residents.
The Gulf Region District’s Kirkuk Resident Office is managing the $850,000 project.
Army Lt. Col. Edgar Montalvo, an engineer at the office, said the key to the project has been the cooperation with the local government.
“The governor of Kirkuk was extremely pleased with the project,” Montalvo said. “This project allows the city to look to the future with optimism and helps provide the people of Kirkuk, from all ethnic groups, a place to enjoy their common heritage and culture in a peaceful setting while providing recreational opportunity for children and families.”
The Mussalah, Askary and Ulama’a parks are nearing completion, and three more parks are in the planning stages.
A professional designer has been working with the contractor to assist with the design of the parks. All of the sites are located in urban neighborhoods and include a grass soccer field, a playground for small children and a picnic area with benches.
The parks will have prefabricated buildings to house a guard shack, concession stand and utility room. Wells were dug and an underground sprinkler system is being installed at each park to maintain grassy areas.
All of the two-acre parks are enclosed by an eight-foot wall and area lighting provides a safe and secure area for children and families during the evening hours. A back-up generator will provide electricity to the parks during electrical grid power interruptions.
The Iraqi-owned Al Mashariq Company is the general contractor for the park projects, which has employed at least 30 local Iraqis.
The parks are being funded through the U.S. State Department’s Economic Support Fund.
The Gulf Region Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq, has completed thousands of reconstruction projects in partnership with the U.S. and Iraqi governments. Since 2004, GRD has completed 5,257 projects throughout Iraq valued at more than $8.9 billion, and has 361 projects ongoing.
Story by Mike Scheck
The high-pitched sound of children laughing and a rollercoaster’s rumble were heard at the Kirkuk Amusement Park on the outskirts of Kirkuk City, Aug. 18.
Iraqi Police (IP), their children, and U.S. Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, traveled in groups, wandering the park looking for the best rides.
Weeks of planning went into this event and many local IP enjoyed the opportunity to bring their families to the park and introduce them to the U.S. Soldiers they work with on a regular basis.
“This is the first chance I have had to bring my family to the amusement park,” said Capt. Louay Wahad Ali, an IP from the local area who brought his nephews along with him. “They really like it because they feel safe and can relax and have fun.”
“It is very fun to come here with my uncle,” exclaimed Ali ‘s 10-year-old nephew, Mustafa. “I love it!”
Besides giving the IP and their families a chance to get away from the city and take some much deserved time off, the event was also an opportunity for U.S. Soldiers to see the IP in a new light.
“It’s good to see the IP out and having fun,” said Spc. Jorge Huizar, a Paladin mechanic with Battery G, 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. “We can have fun with them.”
For Huizar, going to an amusement park in Iraq was an unusual and welcomed surprise considering he is normally in the gunner’s seat and dismounts on missions in and around Kirkuk.
“I did not expect to go any place like this,” he said. “It’s good to feel this kind of atmosphere, especially in Iraq.”
Also present that evening was the Lion of Kirkuk, the official mascot of the Kirkuk Police, who introduced himself to the children with a resounding “Roar!”
After touring the park, the IP, children and Soldiers made their way to the rollercoaster, where they took turns riding together.
“I like the rollercoaster the most,” said Mustafa. “I’m not scared of it.”
This fearlessness will suit Mustafa well as he plans on following in his uncle’s footsteps by becoming an IP officer.
“I love seeing my uncle in his uniform; it makes me very proud,” he said. “I hope when I grow up I can wear the same thing.”
As the night came to a close, IP and Soldiers alike chatted about how much they would like to do this again soon, and plans were made for another amusement park visit in the near future.
“I would love to see this type of mission again,” said Huizar with a broad smile on his face.
By Pfc. Justin Naylor
1st Cavalry Division
Kirkuk City, Iraq, has been considered by residents here to be one of the most beautiful and cleanest cities in Iraq. But, due to budget constraints, waste removal services around the city have been lacking and waste has been accumulating.
Thanks to efforts of the Kirkuk government and assistance from 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, a new project to remove waste in the city and help educate its residents on properly disposing of trash was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony involving Iraqi children, singers, and a cake, Aug. 9.
The ceremony was attended by Kirkuk Gov. Abdul Rahman Mustafa and Lt. Col. Terry Cook, commander of 3rd Bn., 82nd FA, and other government officials.
According to Capt. Juan Cantu, a Houston native and civil military operations officer with 3rd Bn., 82nd FA, who worked on the project, the problem was initially brought to light by Kirkuk’s solid waste director and residents of the city. During community meetings, they voiced their concerns over the growing piles of trash around the city.
“Due to budget problems in the past several months, nearly 1,000 tons of trash normally removed by city services were not being picked up,” said Cantu. “This ceremony marks the beginning of a three-part waste collection effort to assist Kirkuk city to catch up on its trash removal services.”
Cantu said the project is actually comprised of three smaller projects and is scheduled to last two months and employ approximately 700 to 800 workers. The $1.3 million project will primarily be funded through the Commander’s Emergency Response Program.
The first phase of the project will run 30 days and involve 500 workers to remove garbage that has accumulated in neighborhoods. The phase will rapidly catch the city up so the daily trash removal services which are already in place will not be strained.
After the city is caught up, the next component involves educating residents on proper waste removal.
“We need to change the way Kirkuk’s residents feel about trash,” Cantu said. “70 workers will go door-to-door and distribute one million trash bags and pamphlets informing people how to properly dispose of trash and on which day their trash will be picked up.”
Cantu said the city will also place 1,500 metal trash cans around the city for people to put trash in as well.
The final phase of the project will involve heavy machinery to remove construction waste scattered around the city.
“All throughout the city you can see bricks and other debris from construction projects lying around,” Cantu said. “This final phase will remove all of that.”
While this project is scheduled to last two months, it does not mean the trash will not be picked up afterwards.
“Trash removal services still exist in the city,” Cantu said. “The budget problems have been addressed and the waste removal contracts have been resolved, so this project will catch the city up and daily removal will continue.”
Beautification is not the only goal of the project either. Disease and pest infestation is another risk to consider.
“It is important to keep Kirkuk clean for its residents, to make it a nice city,” explained Nawza Abdulla Karim, who works for Kirkuk’s municipal solid waste management. “But, it is vital for the health of the city’s residents because lots of diseases can accompany trash, especially during the summer months.”
“Kirkuk has long been known as one of the most beautiful and cleanest cities in Iraq,” Cantu said. “The local government wanted to meet the people’s needs here and to return that title to the city.”
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Douglas
Pre-deployment training prepares Soldiers for a wide range of missions they may encounter. Flying a blimp is typically not one of them.
Or at least it wasn’t for Soldiers on Forward Operating Base Warrior, Kirkuk, Iraq, until a new surveillance blimp took its place in the skies above FOB Warrior.
The blimp began operating June 28, and is part of a growing number of these blimps currently being used across Iraq.
This equipment takes a special group of Soldiers operating day and night to keep it in the air and out of harm’s way.
“If the blimp starts losing helium, or if it needs to be patched, we take it down, find the hole and fix it,” said Spc. Jennifer Cumbie, a Miami native and a multi-channel transmission system operator with Co. B, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division.
The Soldiers are also on the lookout for bad weather and heavy winds, which can affect the stability of the blimp.
“In the communications world, Soldiers who operate their systems are in control of troubleshooting and can easily identify where a problem can, or has occurred,” said 2nd Lt. Valerie LoSchiavo, the officer in charge of the blimp team and a platoon leader with Company B, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “But this mission holds challenges and variables that are difficult to predict or determine.”
And the unpredictability of this weather has made the job of these Soldiers challenging.
“It has been a learning experience,” said Spc. Marshall Austin, a Wilkesborow, N.C., native and a shift leader with the blimp team.
“We all learned an entirely new system,” said LoSchiavo. “But the team has adapted to the task with ease. They have done an outstanding job,” said LoSchiavo.
“When they found out about it they were excited to do something new,” she said. “It gave us something to focus on and put our energy into.”
Story by Pfc. Justin Naylor