News: Iraqis, Long Knives partner to improve base, increase job opportunities
By the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GARRY OWEN, Iraq – Soldiers with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, "Long Knife Brigade," are teaming with local Iraqi engineers to improve Forward Operating Base Garry Owen.
Improved security in the country, particularly in Baghdad, has allowed Iraqi and U.S. forces to shift some of their focus to weapons smuggling in the southeastern part of the country.
When complete, FOB Garry Owen will serve as a key location from which Iraqi and US units will block dangerous munitions from entering Iraq.
"We work with the Iraqis to build this base, and to make things better in this (Amarah) community," said Pfc. Kyle Ferguson, 54th Engineering Battalion, an engineer and Miami native. Ferguson's battalion is supporting the 4th BCT and represents one half the engineering partnership; the Iraqis represent the other half.
The 21-year-old U.S. Army engineer and his unit are assisting the Iraqi heavy equipment operators place approximately 1,000 t-wall sections, commonly referred to as T-walls, around the base for added security.
He said the Iraqis place 60 to 70 of the massive bricks per day. "You have to have patience with the Iraqis because they don't always understand the language," said Ferguson. "They enjoy working, and we enjoy having the help."
According to the 4th BCT's operations officer, Maj. Curt Taylor, a native of Leavenworth, Kansas, this Iraqi-U.S. partnership is good for both sides. "It improves their economy because the citizens of Amarah have jobs, and it breeds a stronger working relationship."