Thursday, May 15, 2008

Windmills in Brigade's Legacy

Windmills in brigade's legacy
Benning soldiers give water with security to Iraqis

While two more flights carrying redeploying soldiers are expected to arrive at Fort Benning today, those remaining in Iraq prepare for today's transfer of authority ceremony.

The 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, based in Baumholder, Germany, officially will take over operations in the Mada'in Qada area from Benning's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team.

The 3rd, under the command of Col. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., has been deployed to Iraq since March 2007. No U.S. Army brigade has spent more time in Iraq than the 3rd.

During their final days at Forward Operating Base Hammer, where Thursday's ceremony will take place, soldiers from the 3rd Brigade joined with their replacements to visit the towns of al-Zatir and Hollandia.

Their objective: To check on progress made on windmills over the past eight months.

Yes, windmills, which provide those communities water for irrigation and drinking.

"These people should be very proud of what they have done here," said Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, the 3rd Brigade's deputy commander. "They have done something that no other Iraqi ever has. History is being made in this village."

Kuhn was part of the planning and joined the visits Monday. He said the Iraqi contractors have made significant progress on the windmills.

"These people have done a great job," Kuhn said. "Now, when children come walking by on their way home from school, they will be able to drink clean water."

Kuhn said they also provide the security to enjoy it.

"Water is expensive for these people," he said. "We are defeating the insurgents by not allowing them to control the prices of water and by providing free water."

Lt. Col. Matthew F. McKenna of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team will take over the windmill project when the 3rd leaves Iraq.

"We want to get the director general for water in Iraq to look at these windmills," McKenna said. "Hopefully they like the idea and we can expand the windmill program through the Government of Iraq."

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