Building Bridges and Security in Iraq

Posted February 10th, 2009 by SgtStryker

Iraqi Security Forces Celebrate Birthday

Iraqi Security Forces Celebrate Birthday
Policemen of the Ninewa traffic police ride in formation during the celebration parade of the Iraqi army’s birthday, Jan. 6, Mosul, Iraq.
Photo by Maj. Amanda Emmens-Rossi

Building Bridges and Security in Iraq

Sgt. Stryker here. As progress continues in Iraq, the U.S. military and coalition forces continue to change their roles. Good things are happening in Iraq, though, as the country is slowly rebuilt. The military is also continuing to maintain the peace and safety of the citizens and hunt down the bad guys, though.

Provincial government officials and coalition partners laid the first batch of cement for a new bridge crossing the Shatt Al Arab River here Feb. 7.

The new Tannumah Bridge will link downtown Basra with its eastern neighborhood of Tannumah.

“This will open a huge gate into the economy of Basra,” said Sayeed Najem Mutarif, the provincial council community reconstruction chairman. “It will help increase trade into Basra and all of Iraq.”

In addition to Mutarif, Basra provincial Gov. Mohamad El Waeli and Army Maj. Gen. Andy Salmon, Multinational Division Southeast commander, were on hand for the ceremony, along with various Basra city officials, U.S. military civil affairs representatives, Baghdad government officials, senior officers from Iraqi police and army, local residents and members of the Iraqi media.

“Every time I pass the old bridges, it hurts me to see them in the state they are in,” Waeli said. “A country like Iraq with its capabilities deserves more. This bridge provides a great opportunity for everyone here in Basra.”

Two dilapidated, single-lane pontoon bridges now cross the river. The new bridge will increase the amount of residential and commercial traffic, boosting the local economy, officials said.

The Iraqi-engineered bridge, which is scheduled to be completed next year, has increased safety features. The Iraqi construction company building it is expected to employ nearly 1,000 people to complete the $11.6 million project.

A section of the bridge has been designed to rise in the middle to permit shipping access to Maqil port, enabling future investment in the area, officials said.

“Life in the future doesn’t happen by accident,” Salmon said. “It happens because people join together and then decide they are really going to work for the future. That is exactly what is needed for the future of Basra.”

Building bridges in Iraq. Stop and think about that one a moment.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Iraqi and coalition forces discovered several explosive devices throughout Baghdad.

On February 7, 2009, in the Saydiyah neighborhood of Baghdad’s Rashid district, Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 24th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, partnered with U.S. soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, discovered a homemade bomb.

The patrol safely transported the device to a joint security station for an Iraqi explosives team to handle.

Baghdad Operations on February 7, 2009:

Based on a tip from an Iraqi citizen, Iraqi soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 54th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division and soldiers from Battery B, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, attached to the U.S. 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division discovered a car bomb in Baghdad’s Yarmouk neighborhood. An Iraqi explosives team responded to the site and dismantled the device.

In Baghdad’s Mansour district, soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 54th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, working with U.S. soldiers from 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, discovered a homemade bomb based on a tip. An Iraqi explosive ordinance disposal team responded to the site and dismantled the device.

Baghdad Operations on February 6, 2009:

In the Saha neighborhood of Badhad’s Rashid district, Iraqi police with 1st Battalion, 3rd Abu Rishad National Police Brigade, attached to 7th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division, supported by U.S. soldiers from the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, found a bomb consisting of a fire extinguisher containing homemade explosives. An explosive ordnance disposal team safely destroyed the homemade device.

The Iraqi Army’s 3rd Battalion, 53rd Brigade, 14th Division, supported by U.S. soldiers of Company B, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division conducted a cache clearing mission northwest of Baghdad, during Operation Hammer Valkryie. A coalition explosives team reported 107 mm high explosive rockets, 122 mm high explosive projectiles, empty 122mm projectiles, a 125 mm projectile, 125 mm high explosive projectiles, and a 130 mm projectile. The munitions were destroyed in a controlled detonation.

The Iraqi Army is stepping up too, though, as witnessed by their helping secure a site for construction to begin on a much needed road project in Albu Hassan, Iraq. With the Iraqi Army standing guard, Army Cpl. Bracy L. Bahm, a heavy construction equipment operator from Company A, 9th Engineer Battalion, filled in holes, graded mud and smoothed out the road with a bulldozer.

The road is located next to a heavily used railroad track, presenting a potential danger for people who were forced by bad areas of the road to walk near the tracks, Bahm said. The road improvements allow people to maintain a safe distance from the railroad tracks, he added.

“Citizens can bring their goods to the markets using this road, rather than taking the long drive around other cities and towns,” said Sheik Abas Sabur al-Sultani, a student at the Democratic Religious University in Hillah. About 2 million Shiite Muslims will use the route for an upcoming religious pilgrimage, he added.

Iraqi pedestrians and motorists started using the freshly graded road immediately after the improvements were finished.

“It may not seem like much,” Bahm said. “But we fixed three miles on this road and provided an easier means of travel for the Iraqi citizens.”

I don’t know. To me, three miles of a road, a bridge here and there – it seems like an awful lot to me.

This is Sgt Stryker signing out, leaving you with a lot to think about.

One Response to “Building Bridges and Security in Iraq”

  1. Ruth Cocuzza

    I have to say that for the past couple of hours i have been hooked by the amazing posts on this blog. Keep up the wonderful work.

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