News: Move over Army, the Navy has come inland
Story by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle
MOSUL, Iraq - People would think that if you're a Sailor in the Navy you would spend most of your time on the water.
The Provincial Reconstruction Team at Forward Operating Base Courage, Mosul, Iraq has tapped the services of the Navy to help with reconstruction in the Ninewa Province.
"Our mission is to make the government strong and to assist in developing a democratic forum that the people can trust," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Carville Webb, 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, and governance liaison officer from Montgomery, Ala. "We are trying to improve the trust factor and make it so we can leave and Iraq can function as a democratic society."
According to Webb, who volunteered, the Navy put out a message which said there were positions open for civil affairs to help support the Army.
"A lot of CA Soldiers have been deployed three, four times," Webb said. "It was kind of wearing them out, so most of us decided to help out and give them a break."
According to Navy Commander Kelly Neilsen, 403rd CA Bn, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla the PRT helps lend credibility to the local governance. Neilsen lives in Jacksonville, Fla.
"Basically we are there to give guidance on how to get things working a little better," Neilson said.
According to Webb as far as reconstruction goes, nothing else works, without it you can't build a society to be financially functional.
"The biggest accomplishment I would like to see is for Iraqi's to be able to have a voice and not be afraid for stating their opinions or have a different point of view than a government official," said Neilsen.
According to Webb working with the Army is kind of different; everyone is professional and it is very easy for everyone to get along.
"We had about two months to work together before we arrived here," Webb said. "We are a strong team, and it will only get stronger."
"I volunteered to help make a difference," said Neilsen. "I want to give people the chance for a democratic society and freedom of choice."