GRD newsletter Oct. Nov. 2010 by yaofenjin


									Gulf Region District   U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

NEWSletter                                            October - November 2010

For the future generations of Iraq
                                                         Gulf Region District’s       NEWSletter                        October - November 2010

The Gulf Region District Newsletter
                                                                3    Commander’s BLUF: Counting down to mission complete
    USACE GRD, Camp Wolfe,
    Victory Base Complex, Iraq
                                                                4    Good to go from Command Sgt. Maj. Phillips
                            District Commander
                            Col. Jon Christensen                5    USACE completes a water compact
                            Public Affairs Chief
                                                                6    Newcomers Orientation
                              Marcus Spade

                        District Public Affairs Staff:          8    GRD runs a half marathon in VBC
                               LaDonna Davis
                                  M. Ameer                      9    Got Risk? Find Time for Fitness
                          Mohammed Abdulrazzaq
                                 Mo Maaroof
                                                                10   Two Iraq schools experience generosity from GRD
 Special Contributing Staff Writer
         Michael Beeman                                         12   Postcards from Iraq
        Newsletter Graphic Design by:                           13   GRD bids farewell to two Aegis members
                   M. Ameer
                                                                14   Iraqi capacity development a high priority for USACE
                        Cover Photo
                                                                16   Honorable promotion given to Balad NCOIC
 Photo by Mike Beeman

                                                                17   Aegis takes injured Iraqi boy to hospital
                                                                18   Arriving Members
                                                                19   Departing Members

                        Gail Overman, an administrative
                        assistant assigned to the Taji
                        Resident Office, helps children
                        from Sheikh Amir Primary School
                        make toy and school supplies
                        selections. More than 700 pounds
                        of supplies were gathered by
                        groups in the states for distribution
                        to Iraqi school children. Students
                        at two schools in Taji benefitted            Brig. Gen. Kendall P. Cox, USF-I J7 and Trans-Atlantic Division commander
                        from the donations.                          promotes Johnny Martin, NCOIC of the Tikrit Resident Office to Staff Sergeant on
                                                                     Oct. 2 at Contingency Operating Base Speicher. Martin is a quality assurance
                                                                     representative and a valued member of the Gulf Region District team.
                                                                                 Commander’s BLUF

                                                                   GRD Commander Col. Jon
                                                                   Christensen stands next to the
                                                                   countdown clock borrowed from
                                                                   Task Force Hope which is
                                                                   prominently displayed as a reminder
                                                                   of the urgency of the GRD mission.

                                                                   thoughts and prayers.
                                                                     Despite the tragic loss, our mission continues here in Iraq at a
                                                                   steady pace. GRD continues to deliver quality projects to the
                                                                   nation of Iraq, while continuing our transition of command
                                                                   and control to the Middle East District (MED). Our project
                                                                   numbers continue to dwindle – as of today (Oct. 11) our board
                                                                   stands at 243 projects remaining. Major milestones this past
                                                                   month include delivery of Phase I of the LZ Fernandez
                                                                   project, which provides another functional helicopter landing
                                                                   zone, maintenance facility, and passenger terminal. In the
                                                                   south we helped the Iraqi Navy celebrate “Navy Day” in
                                                                   September at the new Umm Qasr Pier and Seawall which
                                                                   includes a 210-meter main pier, and facilities for power, water
                                                                   and fuel distribution that will be tested and commissioned in
                                                                   In the north, we continue to make progress on the Tikrit Air
                                                                   Traffic Control Tower, and will soon turnover Forward
                                                                   Operating Base GABE.
                                                                     Transition with MED continues with a “proof in principle”
                                                                   turnover of two pilot programs. Our Department of State
                                                                   workload was officially turned over to MED on Oct. 1, and the
                                                                   Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program will be turned over in
                                                                   mid November. GRD and MED will use these to programs to
                                                                   build support concepts and strategies for eventual complete
Counting down                                                      command and control transfer to MED. We appreciate the
                                                                   hard work of both staffs in setting the framework for the
to mission complete                                                transfers, and we look forward to partnering with MED to
                                                                   ensure program success.
                                                                     In the spirit of stealing ideas shamelessly, we would like to

         EAM GRD:                                                  thank Task Force Hope (TFH) for letting us borrow a
         Regrettably, I must start this edition of BLUF on a sad   countdown clock. TFH have used these clocks to bring
         note. Recently the GRD family suffered a huge loss        emphasis to the hard deadlines they face in order to deliver the
when team mates Karl Bowen and Mohammed Fakher                     Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System in New
Mohammed Kareem Jaf were killed in a tragic road traffic           Orleans. Since GRD is facing a similar deadline with legacy
accident near Kirkuk. Another team mate, Tom Garrett, was          projects in Iraq, we have adopted the TFH clock (with some
injured. Fortunately, Tom is steadily recovering from his          adjustments) to remind everyone of the sense of urgency we
injuries and we hope he can rejoin his extended family in          face in delivering our mission. The clock hangs prominently in
Kirkuk soon. Mr. Bowen and Mr. Kareem gave the ultimate            the GRD headquarters, counting the days as we make the days
sacrifice in performing a mission in which they truly believed –   count.
bringing peace and stability to the people of Iraq. They were        As always, thanks for all you do.
dedicated and professional members of the team, and will be
sorely missed. We are all clearly richer for having served with    Finish Strong!
them. I would like to thank all of you for keeping Karl, “Big      COL Jon Christensen
Mike” and Tom – along their friends and families – in your         GRD Commander

                                                                                              Gulf Region District              3
                      Good to go from Command Sgt. Maj. Phillips

I     T has been over a month and a half since our last newsletter. A
      lot of things have happened and I have visited many sites.
      Unfortunately we recently lost two members of SET16 in a tragic
accident, Karl Bower and Muhammed Kareem. These outstanding
young men were great teammates and enabled us to perform our
                                                                             with Syria. While It was an extremely long ride it was well worth it in
                                                                             terms of seeing some good progress on that section of the road and
                                                                             to have an opportunity to have some great view of the city of al-Qaim
                                                                             and Syria from the ridges along the Euphrates River.
                                                                                A challenging, at least for me, half-marathon was recently conducted
mission. They will be greatly missed by all here at GRD. Two                 here at Camp Liberty and was something in which I never imagined
memorial services for these dedicated individuals were conducted to          myself participating. Well, I did run it and ended up being sore for
honor their service to this team, one at COS Warrior Kirkuk and one          four days. I ‘m glad, however, that I convinced myself to do it. I
here at Camp Wolfe. Please keep their families in your thoughts and          doubt that I would have ever been encouraged to do it if I had been
prayers.                                                                     anywhere else but here.
  While returning from a recent trip to the south I was honored to be           I’m not sure that I can ever say it enough, but I value everything that
asked to represent GRD by participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony         every member of this team does every day and appreciate the sacrifice
for a Water Compact Unit at al-Khidr. The site itself is situated in a       that you and your families endure. For those who have recently
                                     picturesque little village surrounded   departed, or are going to leave soon – thank you for your service and
                                     by an abundance of palm trees.          all your hard work. It has been a pleasure and an honor working with
                                     The village itself straddles a small    each and every one of you.
                                     river that was developed by the            There are two things that I find myself focusing on a regular basis –
                                     British. The water quality of the       complacency and situational awareness. I also challenge each of you
                                     river has caused significant health     to focus on these two things.
                                     challenges in the village for              Complacency can have a serious impact on the advancement of our
                                     decades. Their having this unit will    mission, it also can impact our daily lives. If you talk to people who
                                     provide clean water for that area       live in a high risk natural disaster environment, such as coastal areas
                                     and reduce the future health risks.     where hurricanes are a part of life, they will tell you that most people
                                     Unfortunately the PRT overseeing        lose their lives because of complacency. The reason, people tend to
                                     the site never showed up, but in        forget the challenges as time passes, they begin to react with less
                                     their absence I got some quality        urgency or begin to believe that something can’t possibly happen to
                                     time to talk with the contractor and    them because they survived a previous event. I encourage everyone
                                     Sheikh Jaafar, the local leader who     to do everything possible to remove complacency from your personal
                                     was instrumental in the security of     practices.
                                     the project.                               As for situational awareness, it is not something easily taught, it is
                                        During that same trip to the         however, something that everyone can easily practice and integrate in
                                     south I had a great opportunity to      both mission mindset and personal life. Driving is something nearly
                                     visit a number of sites – Mira,         all of do and is probably one of the most critical environments in
                                     Camp Bucca and Umm Qasr. At             which situational awareness is imperative. An outstanding driver is
                                     Mira work continues on three            one who is never distracted and is constantly surveying all the possible
                                     ammunition bunkers as well as the       challenges and avoidance techniques. In our environment here in
                                     roadway infrastructure and berms        GRD it should be one of our most critical skill sets. Each of us
GRD Command Sgt. Maj. that surround them. So much is                         should do everything possible to practice and develop great situational
Gregg Phillips after                 happening at Umm Qasr it is             awareness practices.
finishing the “Mogadishu             difficult to describe everything, but      As I travel around to our various sites one of the first things that I
Mile” full Battle Rattle run         during my short visit I was shown       look for is implementation of good safety practices. The same poor
to honor those who served an ammunition storage facility,                    practices tend to show up more frequently than I would like, but we
during the Battle of                 armory, HQs building and the pier       are definitely making progress as for as our contractors go. Safety is a
                                     and seawall. While I was visiting       responsibility that each of us should embrace and something we must
Mogadishu on Oct. 4, 1993
                                     sailors of the Iraq’s Navy were         demand from those performing work for us. This is one of those
practicing for their Navy Day celebration and were practicing marches        critical areas where complacency can become a detriment to mission
along the new pier and seawall. The final site was a water treatment         execution. One particular good safety practice that everyone can
facility at Camp Bucca that the contractor is about to finish and            adopt is to always travel with a buddy.
turnover.                                                                       In closing, while June 2011 may appear to be some distance down
  One of the truly rewarding activities that I get to participate in is      the road, it really isn’t. The time between now and that date will close
promotion activities for our people. On Sept. 3, during a ceremony           faster than we imagine – we need to keep on our contractors to have
at Balad, SSG Brandi Burns moved up in rank by way of a Battle Field         them focus on their schedules and timelines. We need them to bring
Promotion. A BFP is not easy to come by and her extraordinary                their projects in on time, safely and while providing quality work.
efforts in support of the team at Balad certainly earned this well
deserved promotion. SSG Johnny Martin was promoted on Oct. 2 at              GOOD TO GO!
the air traffic control tower project in Tikrit. BG Kendal l Cox, the J7
for USF-I and commander of TAD (our higher HQs), was up for the              Gregg Phillips
day and did the honors. Another well deserved promotion.                     Command Sergeant Major
  During the final days of September I took the long ride out to the         Gulf Region District
western edge of Iraq to see the Border Roads project along the border

                                                                                                           Gulf Region District                  4
                                                                                                                   Projects in

                                                                                         School children from the village of
                                                                                         al-Khidr welcome attendees to the
                                                                                         ribbon cutting for a new water
                                                                                         combat unit that will service a
                                                                                         community of 420 homes.

USACE completes a water compact unit
to provide clean water to Iraq's rural area
By Mike Beeman
Gulf Region District
The Gulf Region District in concert with    village leadership and hear from them        settling tank, filters, blowers,
the Babil Provincial Reconstruction         how important this project is for the        Programmable Logic Units and
Team recently turned over a newly           people in this village,” said Command        chemical reagent dosing system; water
constructed water compact unit in al-       Sgt. Maj. Gregg Phillips, who                storage tanks; generator and fuel tank;
Khidr, south of Baghdad, to the Iraqi       participated in the turnover ceremony.       and chlorine injection system.
government. The unit will provide clean     “There were more than 50 children              “This facility is one of 98 water units
water to approximately 420 homes in the     between the ages of 3-12 who also            that the U.S. government has
area.                                       participated and it is good to know that     constructed for the benefit of the
  The $1.1 million unit will provide        they will now benefit from a clean water     people of Babil Province,” said Bob
water to the residents of the village and   source that will all but eliminate the       Wong, a member of the Babil
the population living nearby. It will       possibility of their contacting water-       Provincial Reconstruction Team.
provide approximately 200 cubic meters      borne diseases.                              “Many of the water units benefit
of water per hour to an area that has          “This is one of those Corps projects      people in the rural areas of Babil.”
long faced critical water challenges. The   that will be of benefit both now and for       Also built into the contract is plant
challenges arose in part because of the     future generations,” Phillips remarked.      operation for 90 calendar days,
high salinity water contamination. South    “We will probably never know how many        including all necessary chemicals,
Central Iraq, the area in which the         lives will be saved by the availability of   reagents, and consumables such as
community is located, has a high            clean water from this unit.”                 fuel, distribution piping, training (both
mortality rate for infants and children        Construction included an intake           classroom and hands-on training),
under five primarily due to preventable     structure with pumps, piping, screen,        spare parts, operations and
water-borne diseases. The unit draws        operations building, chemical storage        maintenance manuals and as-built
water from an adjacent river that was       building, sludge settlement lagoons and      drawings. Future requirements include
developed by the British in the 1930s.      fenced enclosure. The pre-engineered         construction of piping network and
  “It was heartwarming to have met with     components installed in the water            connection to a 13.25 kilometer long
Sheik Jaafar and other members of the       treatment facility included flocculators,    water distribution network.

                                                                                           Gulf Region District              5
              Gulf Region District Commander, Col. Jon Christensen, bottom left, briefs
Newcomers     newcomers on his vision for the future of the district during the Sept. 21
              Newcomers Orientation Class. The class is led by the GRD Human Resources

Orientation   and Operations staff and introduces incoming personnel on the basics of GRD
              operations. Relevant topics at the session include safety, tactical movements and
              command expectations. Command Sgt. Maj. Gregg Phillips, bottom right, gives
              a welcome and expectations brief to incoming personnel. Aegis security team
              leader Shawn, below, briefs the newcomers on procedures for tactical
              movements while in Iraq.

                                                       Gulf Region District             6
Aegis team member Simon (Si) Elliott, top left, uses Tech. Sgt. Albert Verasregul
to simulate an emboss-under-stress situation during Aegis’ client induction
training. Newcomers are also briefed on the vehicle safety measures, Personal
Protection Equipment (PPE) and the required clothing that needs to be worn
while on Aegis related movements.
Newcomers pose with the Aegis security detail, bottom, following tactical training
held outside Building 5 on Camp Wolfe.

                                         Gulf Region District            7
GRD runs a half marathon in VBC
                     Members of the Gulf Region District and the
                     Aegis Defence Services tested their will,
                     determination, and stamina in a half marathon run
                     took place in Victory Base Complex on Sept. 26,

                              Gulf Region District            8
                                                                                                 Got risk?

                                 Consider these ideas

H          OW can you find
           time to exercise
           when you are
working 10 - 12 hours a
                                * Come up with your own time of day
                                for exercise. You could consider
                                getting up earlier. Exercising first
                                thing in the morning works well for
                                many people. Or, perhaps you could
                                                                            exercises can keep you be flexible
                                                                            and prevent muscle strains. It is
                                                                            something easy you can do with
                                                                            minimal effort.
                                                                            * Exercise on your half days off. A
day, with increased
                                join in a group exercise program like       nice walk around one of the many
workloads, less people and      the one offered in the Bldg. 6              lakes on VBC can be beneficial as
deadlines to meet?              assembly area. Group workouts are           well as relaxing.
                                being conducted using the Insanity          * Make exercise a regular part of
This can be a real              DVD for training. Join in the madness       your social life. Instead of watching
challenge, but it is worth      and you will feel better that you did.      a video with one of your battle
making the effort. Regular      * Exercise on your lunch break.             buddies, decide to do something
                                Camp Wolfe has a great gym on the           that will get the cardio going and
exercise will help you stay     compound that is close by for use by        help with your overall fitness.
healthy, and it can improve     all personnel, both Corps and               * Enjoy many of the various
                                contractor alike. Check it out and take     activities available on base. There
your ability to work at a       advantage of the variety of exercise        are many planned group running
steady, efficient pace, and     equipment available.                        activities and other sporting events
                                * Do stretching exercises at your work      offered throughout the base. Take
work more safely. It can        station before you start work and           the challenge and join in – you will
even make it easier to cope     when you take a break. These                be happy that you did.
with all the responsibilities   In order to get into the habit of exercising regularly, you need to make it a
which fill your days and        priority. It has to be right up there with your work and other responsibilities in
                                terms of importance. Your dedication will pay off because exercise can help you
evenings.                       cope with all aspects of your life.

                                                                     District Safety Gram
                                                                     Rebuilding Iraq – Safely!
                                      BUILD….TRANSITION…..BE SAFE……FINISH STRONG
                                                                                                  receive government funding, Al Amal receives
                                                                                                  no funding from the Iraqi Government or
                                                                                                  from non government organizations. They
                                                                                                  rely solely on the donations of the local
                                                                                                  population and what money they can raise
                                                                                                  from a small bakery that is run out of the
                                                                                                     The school only recently began an effort to
                                                                                                  become self-financing by raising money
                                                                                                  through the sale of home baked goods that
                                                                                                  the students and staff make on site. The
                                                                                                  school also has plans to raise money through
                                                                                                  tailoring and carpentry services, trades which
                                                                                                  the students can learn and utilize in the future
                                                                                                  to give back to the community and provide an
                                                                                                  income for themselves as they reach
                                                                                                     The Al Amal School was identified by the
                                                                                                  main Imam of Fallujah City, Dr. Mohammad
                                                                                                  Depash, as an educational facility in dire need
                                                                                                  of supplies and rehabilitation. The school
                                                                                                  came to light during a key leadership
                                                                                                  engagement between Fallujah government
Col. Jon Christensen, commander of the Gulf Region District, hands a                              officials and the Aegis RLT.
coloring book and crayons to a student of Sheikh Amir Primary School.                                The effort to gather materials for the
Volunteers from district offices distributed more than 700 pounds of                              schools was led by Gail Overman, an
materials to two schools near Taji, Iraq.                                                         administrative assistant assigned to the Taji
                                                                                                  Resident Office. While cleaning out a supply
                                                                                                  room in the Taji office she came across a
Two Iraq schools                                                                                  collection of homemade bags and school
                                                                                                     After finding the supplies she made a couple
experience generosity from                                                                        of inquiries and discovered that there was a
                                                                                                  special needs school that was in a desperate
other side of the globe                                                                           need of these types of supplies. At that point
                                                                                                  she made a decision to seek out additional
By Mike Beeman                                                                                    materials to donate to the school. With the
                                                                                                  concurrence of Lt. Col. Jimmy Clements, the
Gulf Region District                                                                              officer-in-charge of the GRD's Taji office at
                                                                                                  the time, she began her quest.
 Children attending two schools in Iraq are benefiting from the                                      “The first action I took was to send e-mail
generosity of individuals on the opposite side of the globe. A collection                         notes to my church family at the Emmanuel
                                                                                                  Babtist Church in Athens, Alabama and to
of school supplies and toys, collected by a church in Athens, Alabama                             Jeffrey Davis the Huntsville Center's
and two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offices, were distributed at two                             deployment coordinator,” said Overman. “I
                                                                                                  was amazed at how quickly word spread. We
separate gatherings of delighted children and staff members.                                      soon had more than 700 pounds of supplies
                                                                                                  collected and shipped over to the Taji
  The combined efforts of the Gulf Region         of the religious holiday of Ramadan, GRD        Resident Office.”
District, an Aegis Reconstruction Liaison         personnel go to schools near USACE                 The supplies included notebooks, pencils,
Team, an Alabama church congregation and          project sites to provide school supplies and    coloring books, crayons, coloring pencils,
Corps offices at Huntsville and Blue Grass        toys to Iraqi children and school staff.        erasers, soccer balls, yo-yos, jump ropes, tote
Army Depot brought happy faces and a lot of       Neither of these schools is GRD built or        bags, socks, paints, construction paper and
joy to schools in need of significant support.    rehabilitated, but due to the overwhelming      hair accessories. In addition, an Aegis RLT
Those benefitting from the collection of gifts    need of the students, GRD and Aegis RLT         provided two donated laptop computers.
were the students of the Al Amal – Arabic for     leadership felt the need to help the schools.      “All of this came together in less than two
“hope” – School for the Hearing Impaired            The Al Amal School provides education         months,” commented Overman. “I sent the
and Mentally Challenged located in Fallujah       services for nearly 300 Iraqi students, ages    first note out in the first part of August and
and Sheikh Amir primary school in Taji, Iraq.     five to 15. The school serves students with     materials started arriving in the first week of
Between the two schools more than 700             mental and physical challenges and is the       September.”
pounds of supplies and toys were distributed.     only school that caters to those with special      One small obstacle stood in the way of
  Annually near the beginning of the Iraqi        needs in the Fallujah area.                     Overman seeing the activity through to
school year, which begins shortly after the end     Unlike other schools in Iraq, which

                                                                                                      Gulf Region District                 10
mission completion, she was due to rotate
back to the states in early September.
Participation in the actual delivery of the
supplies would require the approval of a
couple of people to extend her deployment.
   “I had no problem approaching Lt. Col.
Clements to request a four week extension of
my assignment,” remarked Overton. “After
that the more challenging approval was that of
my husband Stanley.” A call to her husband
to explain the challenge and he agreed that she
needed to stay knowing that her heart was
deeply connected to this activity.
   As the supplies came in, more than 20 boxes
worth, Overman spent every evening
inventorying and separating all of the
materials. So much arrived a decision was
made that there was enough to provide
materials to two schools. So an effort was
launched to find a second school in the Taji
area, near a Corps construction site, where        Gail Overman, right, assists a young Iraqi child in selecting a toy and
they could proffer the gifts.
   A school in Taji was selected based on
                                                   backpack from the large selection of donated supplies. More than 400
greatest need, unfortunately due to a possible     children benefitted from the donated toys and school supplies.
insurgent threat; a concern for the safety of      Baghdad Resident Office, asked the                After the team had offloaded the large pile
the Corps team and the children, a decision        headmaster whether the Corps team could        of materials and toys the school staff signaled
was made to select another school.                 spend some time playing with the children.     the students from the first small modular unit
   The visit to Al Amal occurred first and two     The headmaster happily gave approval and       to come out to receive the gifts.
days later the visit to Sheikh Amir. The Al        the children poured out of the classrooms.        “We had been told that there could be
Amal visit was led by Lt. Col. Israel Figueroa,       Genao, whose stateside assignment is as a   between 45 and 150 students the day we were
officer-in-charge of the GRD's Baghdad area        computer engineer at the Air Force             to visit the school,” said Overman. To
office. Traveling to the school with him were      Research Lab in Mesa, Arizona, volunteered     everyone’s surprise, nearly 100 students
Maj. Jonathan Stover, 1st Lt. Omayra Genao         for her assignment with GRD harboring a        poured out of the first classroom and there
and Overman.                                       secret ambition to participate in a            were four or five modular classrooms, making
   After the team arrived at Al Amal and           humanitarian activity during her time in the   the total number of students close to 500.
offloaded the supplies and toys they visited       Baghdad area. Born in the Dominican               "It is great to give something immediate and
each classroom. Children then came out to          Republic she spent most of her childhood       tangible to the community, and to witness
receive the donated toys. The team was highly      in the Bronx section of N.Y.                   firsthand the results," said Christensen. "Gail
energized by the opportunity to provide               “I grew up in the Bronx in a family of      and the Taji team worked extremely hard on
donated supplies and to experience firsthand       eight brothers and sisters,” Genao said. “I    this endeavor, and they were paid back
the happiness it brought to the students and       love working with, and being around            generously with smiles and laughter."
faculty.                                           children – they're amazing!”                      Unfortunately the team ran out of toys and
   “It was an emotional event for me I felt like      As the children came out Genao asked if     backpacks after about 300 students. “The
Santa Claus as I was handing out the toys,”        any of them knew how to play soccer. The       whole team regretted that we had run out of
commented Figueroa. “It is hard to describe        younger male students quickly engaged the      supplies,” stressed Overman, “but that isn't
the feeling of joy I got as each child reached     lieutenant in an impromptu game of soccer,     saying that we won't return.”
out to receive a toy at Al Amal.”                  while the female students enticed Overman         Others who provided donated materials
   After the children received the individual      to join them in an Iraqi version of ring-      were: Lt. Col. Clements and his wife; Sarah
gifts the school supplies, including two laptop    around-the-rosy. Shortly before the team       and Joel Harris; Huntsville Center and the
computers were presented to the headmaster.        prepared to depart Figueroa joined in on       Corps Resident Office on the Blue Grass
“When the computers were first shown to the        the game of soccer.                            Army Depot, outside of Richmond,
headmaster she didn't seem to realize that they       “I wanted to play more, but when you're     Kentucky.
were being given to them to keep,” said            wearing 40 pounds of gear you stop and            Aegis is a private security firm that provides
Figueroa. “When she suddenly realized that         quickly question your ability to compete       security support to the military and civilian
they were for the school to keep emotion           against a group of very young, very fast and   personnel of GRD. As part of Aegis, RLTs
seemed to overtake her.”                           extremely agile youngsters,” stressed          perform a civil affairs role as part of the
  “The sense of giving is even more                Figueroa.                                      USACE reconstruction mission by engaging in
overpowering when it is to a group that has           Two days later a group led by Col. Jon      discussions with Iraqi military and
such a dire need,” stated Figueroa.                Christensen, GRD commander, visited            government officials and local populations to
   After the presentations were completed          Sheik Amir School located outside of Taji.     get a sense for what local needs exist.
Genao, an U.S. Air Force officer serving as        The colonel was accompanied by Overman,
deputy officer-in-charge of the GRD's West         Stover and Capt. Ross May.                     LaDonna Davis contributed to this story.

                                                                                                      Gulf Region District                  11
                      Postcard from Iraq
                      Lt. Col. Michelle Garcia                                                                                          2010
                      Deputy Commander
                      Gulf Region District, USACE
                      I am back in Baghdad, Iraq for the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and
                      the beginning of Operation New Dawn. I serve as the Deputy
                      Commander for the Gulf Region District (GRD) of the US Army Corps of
                      Engineers and our mission is to complete approximately 250
                      reconstruction projects across Iraq. An impressive mission and my small
                      piece is keeping things running at Camp Wolfe, our headquarters, while
                      the Commander and Command Sergeant Major visit jobsites and
                      construction offices from Mosul in the North to Basrah in the South. The
                      construction projects range from building a new sea port at Umm Qasar
                      to air traffic control towers to hospitals and modular schools. I am
                      amazed at the diversity of the people I work with on a daily basis, security
                      forces from Britain, Nepal, South Africa, maintenance personnel from the
                      Philippines, Sri Lanka and India and of course the Iraqi locals, engineers,
                                                                        IT technicians and public affairs specialists. Gulf Region District is a
                                                                        predominantly civilian organization with many USACE employees from
                                                                        other districts and divisions in the States volunteering to come here and
                                                                        work. About one-third of the organization is U.S. Military, Army Navy, Air
                                                                        Force; active, guard and reserve forces. Although most come here on six
                                                                        month tours I am impressed at the number of both civilian and military
                                                                        volunteers who extend to stay here a year, some even longer. The mission
                                                                        here is that compelling and the entire team is excited to see it to the end.
                                                                        I did have the opportunity to travel to some locations and meet the
                                                                        individuals involved in project management on a daily basis. While there
                                                                        are some challenges, the big success story for us is the many talented local
                                                                        Iraqi engineers who work for us. Even more than the buildings we
                                                                        construct, our partnership with them and the skills they use to keep
                                                                        building Iraq when we depart will truly be our legacy as we finish strong.

                      Postcard from Iraq
                      Howard “Farrell” McMillan                                                            2010
                      E&C Chief
                      Gulf Region District, USACE
                      Coming to Iraq for a second deployment was something that was not on my
                      radar screen. But when I was asked if I would be interested in being part of
                      the Corps of Engineers construction program drawdown from Gulf Region
                      District to the Middle East District, I felt it was a mission that I had to be part
                      of. So after getting assurance and encouragement from my family and friends,
                      I signed up for a six month tour with GRD.
                         My first deployment in 2004-2005 with Gulf Region South was an eye opening
                      experience. It was my first time to the Middle East and first time overseeing
                      construction contractors using local Iraqi labor. Bribes were common among
                      the village sheiks and contractors, construction was subpar, and there were
                      little or no safety precautions for the workers. But there were good things; like
Postcards from Iraq

                      getting the Iraqi school children out of mud huts and into brand new schools. I had a great sense of accomplishment when I
                      saw the smiling children with their new backpacks walking into new one -story concrete schools with new blackboards and
                                                           wooden desks. Another big plus were the Iraqi engineers I hired for QA/QC. I found them
                                                           competent, sincere, and friendly and wanting a lot of the same things I wanted-family life,
                                                           good work, and to live in a country free from violence.
                                                             This time I find construction practices much better and more safety procedures are being
                                                           implemented. There is a pride of ownership of Iraqi contractors as they complete their
                                                           projects. I am amazed at the progress of the types of construction projects- from many
                                                           schools, police stations, and health clinics in 2004/2005 to a large assortment of
                                                           infrastructure projects, i.e. waste water treatment plants, bridges, roads, and even prisons.
                                                             The collaboration, relationships, and coordination that we have developed with the Iraqi
                                                           contractors in the many completed construction projects have benefitted not only the Iraqi
                                                           people, but the country's economic, educational, and health processes. Working with great
                                                           volunteers from all parts of the U.S. and beyond, great Soldiers doing what they do day in
                                                           and day out (and what they do best), and very competent Iraqi engineers, I can say with
                                                           confidence we will continue down this path for overall Corps mission success for the country
                                                           of Iraq. Essayons!

                                                                                                               Gulf Region District                        12
GRD bids farewell to
two Aegis members
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region District and
Aegis Defence Services bid a sad farewell to two fellow friends
and teammates, Karl Shaun Bowen and Mohammed Kareem
Oct. 4, at Camp Wolfe.
Shaun was 30 years old and worked out of the Kirkuk Forward
Operating Base (FOB) here in Iraq.
Shaun joined Aegis in March 2010 and served in Mosul and
Kirkuk. Prior to his service with Aegis he served with the 1st
Battalion Welsh Guards in 1999 and after completing his basic
army training he saw military service in Bosnia, Kosovo,
Northern Ireland and Iraq.
Mohammed Kareem, affectionately known as: “Big Mike,” was
28 years old, he joined Aegis in September 2006 and served as a
Security Escort Team member in both Sulaimaniyah and
Kareem was the teams main interpreter and was instrumental
in ensuring that the Aegis team was able to operate without
Karl and Mohammed died Sept. 14, after a tragic vehicle
accident while on mission east of Tikrit, northern Iraq.
“Both Karl and Mo lived life to its fullest, and truly made a
difference in helping rebuild the Nation of Iraq,” said Col. Jon
Christensen, GRD commander. “We will all remember Karl's
stoic professionalism, and Big Mike's keen and often animated
sense of humor.”
“They were dedicated and loyal team mates, and we are blessed
to have had the opportunity to serve with them.” Christensen
On his part, William Swinton, an Aegis project director
remembered the “proud Welshman” and the “pound Iraqi” by
saying “It is for all of us here left behind to make sure the
memory of these two Aegis men, our brothers and friends,
remains alive in our hearts and memories forever.”
The farewell ceremony took place at the same time that Karl is
being buried at home in Wales, while Mohammed was already
buried in his hometown of Kirkuk.

                                                                   Members of GRD and Aegis gathered at the half-staff
                                                                   GRD flagpole to pay their respects to fallen Aegis team
                                                                   members Karl Shaun Bowen and Mohammed Kareem.
                                                                   They died Sept. 14 in a vehicle accident while
                                                                   performing their duties in northern Iraq. Aegis and GRD
                                                                   leadership led the memorial service in Camp Wolfe on
                                                                   Oct. 4. (GRD photos by Mohammed Abdulrazzaq)

                                                                                         Gulf Region District        13
                             Students at the Baghdad Amanat Training Center study operations and
                             maintenance requirements for water treatments plants. There are presently 32
                             students attending two courses at Amanat as part of capacity development
                             program funded by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Capacity development a high priority as
USACE in Iraq aims for mission completion
By Mike Beeman
Gulf Region District

The recent end of combat             As the final sprint begins for           implementation and delivery of training
                                   completing and closing-out                 to build capacity for the Government
operations in Iraq brings          construction projects, then eminent        of Iraq and its ministries to provide
greater focus on the future        departure, there is one significant        sustainable essential services in the
end-point, which will be the       additional requirement – training an       electrical, water, waste water, health,
departure of all remaining U. S.   Iraqi workforce to operate and maintain    transportation and communications
                                   the infrastructure and facilities.         sectors,” stated Joyce Hamilton, Project
forces in late 2011. As that         To meet this challenge the Gulf          Manager.
end date appears more              Region District created the Capacity         Presently there are four Capacity
luminous on the horizon so         Development Program to build human         Development Training activities under
does the challenge to complete     and institutional capability to aid Iraq   contract or in the implementation stage:
                                   on its continuing journey toward           Baghdad Amanat Training Program, Al
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers       developing a secure and sustainable        Anbar University Accreditation, Iraqi
projects across the country.       economy. The ultimate objective is to      Associates and the Provincial
                                   enable Iraq to independently operate       Reconstruction Team Mentor Program.
                                   and maintain infrastructure and            Additionally, there is one other training
                                   facilities.                                program that is being executed as part
                                     “The goal of the Capacity                of an electrical equipment upgrade
                                   Development Program is                     contract.

                                                                                 Gulf Region District             14
   A contract awarded in July to the
Baghdad Amanat Training Center has as
an objective improvement of the
                                                   The training will consist of factory
capability of the center to develop
needed skill sets of Amanat employees
                                               training of a selected group of five
who operate and maintain buildings and
facilities in the City of Baghdad. The
                                               Ministry of Electricity engineers and
training combines workshops as well as         technicians for a period of four weeks at
hands on instruction. The contract
covers five separate training syllabuses –     the manufacturer's facilities in Norway.
water, sewage, solid waste, roads and
facilities.                                                                                                Lisa Lawson
   The first part of the venture will                                                                      Project Manager
provide training for the Sons of Iraq.
As the first training courses are            additional aim is to eliminate a gap that   designed to provide training for Iraqis
presented the training will be               exists between the current Anbar            and is also aimed at the personal
videotaped with the tapes used in future     Engineering Department curriculum           services area in support of the mission
training efforts. “Amanat just began         and that of an Accreditation Board for      of GRD. The program, which was
executing this contract on Sept. 28 with     Engineering and Technology.                 awarded in July, will initially employ 15
the start of two classes,“ commented           “Accreditation would establish Al         local nationals. The number could
Hamilton.                                    Anbar as having engineers that are far      increase as requirements and additional
   “One class has 15 students studying       more advanced than the rest of the          support is identified.
operations and maintenance of water          country,” stated Alia Kasey, program          “An evaluation of resumes has been
treatment plants and the other has 17        manager for the contractor Resolute         completed for the first 15 positions,”
studying operations and maintenance of       Construction Management. “The               commented Greg Vaughn, project
waste water treatment plants,“ stated        improvement in the university's             manager for the Mentor Program. “Job
Saleem Jassim Hammod Al Rubaie,              program would create a pool of              offers should being proffered over the
chairman of Al-Qaswaa United                 excellent engineers to help rebuild Al      next week or two.”
Company for General Contracts, which         Anbar.”                                       The training of Ministry of Electricity
is overseeing the program.                     “This project has gained a great deal     (MoE) engineers, part of a contract to
   “Most of the trainees in these two        of interest from the Ministry of Higher     retrofit and upgrade of 132 kilovolt gas
training courses are very interested in      Education (MoHE),” commented                insulated switchgear, is scheduled for
the instructional material as well as the    Kasey. “The MoHE has decided to             February into early March 2011. The
presentation by their instructors,”          make this university the model              primary contract in this phase covers
commented Rubaie. “They are getting          engineering college and intends to          the complete replacement of 25 circuit
new practical technical information that     adopt Ohio University                       breaker operating mechanisms, and
they will use in their daily work.”          recommendations applied at Al Anbar,        their main circuit interrupters, with a
   The Provincial Recontruction Team         for a national engineering program for      new generation of mechanisms and
works with Amanat professors to select       engineering colleges across Iraq.”          interrupters. The circuit breakers are
the students who attend. Each class            “The Al Anbar contract is wrapping        being installed in four substations.
runs for 12 days and includes onsite         up,” said Hamilton. “They are                 “The training will consist of factory
training.                                    completing the project 30 days ahead of     training of a selected group of five
   The Al Anbar University                   the projected period of performance.”       Ministry of Electricity engineers and
Accreditation program, awarded in              The 45 employees of Iraqi Associates      technicians for a period of four weeks
April, focuses on development of a           work closely with GRD staff on a daily      at the manufacturer's facilities in
plan to modify curriculum, textbooks         basis providing personal support            Norway,” said Lisa Lawson, Project
and facilities as well as taking other       services. They perform duties as            Manager. “The training will provide the
actions necessary to modernize the           construction representatives, quality       MoE staff with the expertise to
Engineering College's teaching methods       assurance, public affairs and program       conduct the on-site installation of the
and to align them with Western               management. While serving in their          purchased equipment, reducing the cost
accreditation standards. The ambition        positions they have an opportunity to       and substation downtime.”
is to assist the university in producing     learn through hands-on-training and           A factory acceptance test is expected
engineering graduates who then have          direct interaction with Corps               to be scheduled at the end of the
the technical and theoretical                representatives serving in the functional   training period so that the MoE
foundations needed to meet Iraq's            areas within GRD.                           engineers will be able to witness the
rapidly expanding infrastructure. The          The PRT Mentor Program is                 final equipment testing.

                                                                                            Gulf Region District            15
Honorable promotion given to Balad NCOIC

When an Army Soldier portrays great        latter steps are eliminated and Soldiers               Gulf Region District
leadership, commitment to duty and         are awarded on the basis of merit and           Command Sgt. Maj. Gregg
extraordinary job performance while        demonstration of leadership.                              Phillips and GRD
serving in combat or under combat          “Sgt. Burns has displayed                            Commander, Col. Jon
conditions, commanders are granted         extraordinary commitment and                     Christensen remove Staff
special permission to promote their        performance while here in Balad,” said         Sgt. Brandy Burns old rank
Soldiers through the Battlefield           Col. Jon Christensen, commander U.S.                    during a promotion
Promotion program.                         Army Corps of Engineers Gulf                        ceremony at the Balad
Recently, Staff Sgt. Brandy Burns,         Region District. A promotion like this         Resident Office. Burns was
non-commissioned officer in charge         is not given nor considered lightly. I                   given a Battlefield
(NCOIC) at the Balad Resident Office,      always say that promotions aren't given        promotion from Sergeant to
was promoted from sergeant for her         for what you have done, but for the                  Staff Sergeant for her
outstanding work during her tour of        potential you display to go forth and             extraordinary work while
duty while here in Iraq.                   do well in the future. Thank you for all                    serving in Iraq.
Battlefield promotions are rare and        your hard work and service.”
have to be approved through the U.S.       To qualify for a battlefield promotion,
Forces Iraq Deputy Commander, a            Soldiers must be serving in a position
three star general, before being           coded for the rank to which they are
granted.                                   being promoted.
To qualify for a regular promotion,        The program specifically targets
Soldiers must appear before a board        Regular Army, National Guard and
and earn a series of points based on       Army Reserve Soldiers serving in
their military and civilian education,     Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as
physical training test, awards,            Kuwait-based soldiers who routinely
decorations and achievements and job       conduct missions in those operational
performance to advance from their          areas.
current rank to the next higher rank.      Burns will conclude her tour in Iraq
With a battlefield promotion, all of the   later this year.

                                                                                      Gulf Region District        16
                                                                                       Contact Front!
Aegis Defence
Services RLT-6                                                                        the team medic immediately began
team leader Rob,                                                                      providing medical aid to the wounded
left, along with his                                                                  Iraqi child, working to stabilize him,
second in                                                                             while other team members ushered the
command Cam.                                                                          frightened locals to a safe location.
The RLT-6 recently                                                                       Once stable, Omar was carefully
provided                                                                              loaded into one of the RLT vehicles.
emergency                                                                                “It was my assessment that we had to
medical assistance                                                                    take the kid to a hospital for further
to an Iraqi boy who                                                                   treatment. We couldn't just look after
was shot during a
                                                                                      ourselves and leave him there...” was
liaison and survey
                                                                                      how RLT 6's team leader Rob stated.
mission. The boy
                                                                                         Omar was taken to the U.S. Army
was taken to the
U.S. Army medical                                                                     medical facility on Camp Victory where
facility on VBC                                                                       Sean, the team medic, and Alan, one of
Base Complex,                                                                         the Iraqi team members kept him calm
near Baghdad.                                                                         and stayed by his side whilst he received
                                                                                      care from the U.S. Army medics and
                                                                                      doctors. Knowing that the child's
Aegis takes injured                                                                   parents would be sick with worry, Rob
                                                                                      was able to call them and let them know

Iraqi boy to hospital                                                                 that Omar was okay and would be
                                                                                      moved to Ramadi Hospital where he'd
                                                                                      receive further treatment.
Colin Duncan
                                                                                         On debrief, Rob concluded that his
Sr. Information Operations Officer                                                    team “performed fantastically; without
                                                                                      hesitation everyone reacted to the
(Editor's note: last names of Aegis           Baghdad, demonstrated that they are
                                                                                      situation ensuring that no further
team members are not used due to              also highly trained in responding to
                                                                                      injuries were sustained.” Omar, after
security reasons)                             hostile actions in a professional and
                                                                                      being reunited with his mother and
                                              disciplined manner.
                                                                                      father is expected to make a full
While conducting a survey visit at an            The contact occurred while the team
electrical sub-station in Ramadi –            was conducting a survey of the site. As
                                                                                         RLT 6 continues to conduct missions
approximately 120kms west of Baghdad          is usually the case, a number of Iraqi
                                                                                      within Ramadi ensuring the GRD
– an Aegis Reconstruction Liaison Team        civilians approached the team, curious as
                                                                                      reconstruction mission continues
was engaged with small arms fire. The         to who they were and what they were
incident resulted in one civilian casualty,   doing. The team interacted with the
but it could have been a lot worse had        locals, handing out water
the team not reacted in the manner they       and a few soccer balls for
did.                                          the kids.
   In support of the USACE                       Shortly after arriving, the
reconstruction mission in Iraq, Aegis'        team was shot at with a
Reconstruction Liaison Teams (RLT)            single round ricochet
conduct liaison and survey missions,          striking 12- year -old Omar
providing Gulf Region District with an        below the knee. Putting
invaluable tool to reach, influence and       their combat and security
interact with the Iraqi population. The       operation skills to use, the
teams also have the capability to             team immediately took
conduct detailed engineering reports          action by providing cover
allowing GRD to retain eyes-on their          for the civilians while        X-ray shows a 12-year-old boy’s knee struck
projects and maintain quality control of      working to secure the area. with a bullet when he approached Aegis team
their sites from afar.                           While more rounds were who was conducting a survey visit in Ramadi
   Recently, the RLT 6 team, located in       fired onto their location,
                                                                                          Gulf Region District           17

      MAJ Jon Stoyer            CPT Philip Hardwick          CPT Corey Warren             CPT Kyle Huss
         Taji OIC              BAO Deputy Engineer           NAO Deputy OIC             Asst. Ops Officer
    Scarborough, Maine              Edea, N.C.                Olympic, Wash.           Friendswood, Texas

      SSG Aaron Smith           SGT Honitta Jackson         Ssgt Tynesha Bryant        Ssgt Frederick Schlag
          NCOIC                    HR Specialist                  HR NCO                      HR NCO
       Lawton, Okla.            Benton Horbor, Mich.          Baltimore, Mass.           Riverside, Calif.

    SPC John Allen         Ray Gaddie         Brian Bremenstul        Wanda Jordan            Elaina Taylor
 Project Management     Contract Specialist    Project Manager       Program Analyst        Project Engineer
   Fort Hood, Texas                           Virginia Beach, Va.    Munich, Germany          Chicago, Ill.

  Marilyn Fleetwood       Bryon Johnson           Allen perez          Jeffrey Jones         Andrew Gallien
    HR Specialist          IT Specialist         IT Specialist         IT Specialist             RSOI
   Daverport, Iowa       Fairbanks, Alaska                            Randolph, Kan.         Rock Hill, S.C.

                                                                                  Gulf Region District         18
 LTC Jimmy Clements       Larry Petrosino    CPT Christine Wolfe CPT Elizabeth Mooney 1LT Omayra Genao
       TAJI OIC                DPM               Wassit PO         Asst. Ops Officer WEST BRO Deputy OIC

      Rizgar Jan          CPO Lester Cruz    SSG Ray Brundege     David Hawkins          Michael Winkler
BBA & Construction Rep.   MOSUL NCOIC         Movement NCO    TAJI Resident Engineer     Project Manager

       Yung Lee             Adam Hamm          Elaine Battise      Cedric Bland          Michelle Huguet
   Project Engineer       Project Engineer   Contract Specialist   Cost Estimator      Close out Coordinator

      Rita Hayes      SSG Brandon Seamann      Gail Overman         Edmay Mayers         Brenda Parsons
         RSOI             HR Specialist       Admin. Assistant     Admin. Assistant      RMS Admin. Asst.

                                                                               Gulf Region District            19
SSG Adrian Del Bosque    SSG Brandy Burns    SGT Dwayne Cook          Harley Rowe           William Kiddy
       NCOIC                  NCOIC               NCOIC             Resident Engineer     Resident Engineer

   Thomas Puckett          Kelly Conner            Dave Kim         Elizabeth Anderson     John Murner
  Resident Engineer      Construction Rep.   Intelligence Officer       Const. Rep.        Const. Rep.

   Michael Curtis        Michael Prinaris    John “Nick” Evanco       Cathy Anders       Mohammad Hassan
  Construction Rep.      Design Engineer      Design Engineer        Program Analyst      Cultural Advisor

    Denice Quinn          Malania Smith          Karl Foster          Robert Tilson
LM/Property Mgr. Tech.        RSOI              IT Specialist         IT Specialist

                                                                                 Gulf Region District         20

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