Wednesday, January 23, 2008

3-1 Cav. Regt. Attends Pump Station Opening

The chief engineer for the construction company that fixed the water pumps gives a tour of a new water pump station after a ribbon cutting ceremony Jan. 15 in Umm Al-Bid, Iraq.

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
Photos courtesy of 3-1 Cav. Regt.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers and leaders of 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment attended the grand opening of a water pump station Jan. 15 in the Umm Al-Bid village, near Jisr Diyala.

Water production from the new pump station will provide 10 times more water to the Jisr Diyala and Nahrwan areas than before, according to Sgt. 1st Class Daniel McInnis, a 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team staff noncommissioned officer.

“Before the pump station, people would get five to six hours of water per week,” said McInnis, from Binghamton, N.Y. “Now people get 20 hours of water per day on average.”

McInnis said Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces had conducted very few security operations in Umm Al-bid and security threats made it difficult to complete projects to strengthen the village’s economy.

“We identified the project when we first got to the area in April (2007),” said Maj. Andrew Koloski, from Juneau, Alaska, executive officer for the 3-1 Cav. Regt. “We were only working on it for the past 90 days, but it took a while for the planning and to achieve the security necessary to begin construction.”

Since the arrival of the 3rd HBCT to the Mada’in Qada, the brigade’s area of operation, insurgent activity has significantly decreased, Koloski said. Since establishing a Concerned Local Citizens group in October, violence has dropped, resulting in the completion of the project.

Koloski said the project was primarily Iraqi-run. The Mada’in Qada and Jisr Diyala leaders made significant contributions to the project.

“The horizontal pump station represents a culmination of a lot of effort on the part of the Government of Iraq, Coalition Forces and Iraqi citizens,” Koloski said. “Water is the life blood of any society; especially in the desert. This pump station greatly enhances the availability of irrigation in the area.”

The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

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