News: Tuskers light way for Saydiyah citizens
Story by Sgt. David Hodge
By Spc. David Hodge
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – From sunset to sunrise, a noticeable difference on southern Baghdad's Tejara Street will serve a variety of purposes for the residents of Saydiyah and the Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers who patrol the area once stricken with violence.
During the evening of May 30, Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, attached to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B, along with members of the local support council, held a streetlamp lighting dedication in the Rashid district.
"The streetlight dedication will have a great and positive effect on the Saydiyah community," said Lt. Col. Johnnie Johnson, the commander of the 4th Bn., 64th Armor Regt. "Tuskers" Battalion. "There have been no streetlights in Saydiyah for the past 12 months, and this is a huge step forward in bringing a normal life back to the people."
With the flip of a switch and a sudden flicker of light, the citizens gathered around in numbers to witness the new 500-Kilowatt generator illuminate the streetlights in the median and approximately half of the businesses along Saydiyah's main street.
"Tonight was a very exciting night for the citizens because now they are able to keep their stores open later and that increases commerce," said Johnson, a native of Tampa, Fla. "This event highlighted one of the major projects the Tuskers Battalion and neighborhood support council were working on."
The lights serve more purposes than commerce, said Johnson. It allows the citizens and Soldiers freedom of movement after sunset.
"There is more of a feeling of freedom and life in the area for the Iraqi citizens," Johnson added. "It also augments security for us as we patrol the streets with the Iraqi security forces."
"Saydiyah is a peaceful neighborhood," said Dr. Luthi al-Abbosi, the president of the World of Brotherhood and Peace Organization. "The citizens are willing to come back here."
Abbosi's organization provides community services to Iraqis throughout the Saydiyah community.
"The lights give us hope and brings the power and security back," Abbosi explained. "With the security and power comes the commercial industries, and then comes the encouragement for the people to come back to their homes."
Johnson said he believes more streets will receive power in his area of operation during his stay in Saydiyah.
"The key to our success and the Iraqi citizens' success is security," Johnson stated. "With security comes progress, and with that comes prosperity. Today was a big step forward for Saydiyah and we are looking forward to spreading that progress to other parts as well."