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    Accomplishing the impossible: Task Force Marne Soldiers push to complete mission

    Accomplishing the impossible:  Task Force Marne Soldiers push to complete mission

    Photo By Spc. Crystal M. Bradley | Spc. Joe Winebarger (middle, holding papers), Company C, 422nd Civil Affairs...... read more read more

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq — As early as basic combat training, U.S. Soldiers are trained to be tough — both mentally and physically. Endurance is a must and completing tasks that seem impossible to most, have earned Soldiers the title of "the best Soldiers in the world."

    Staff Sgt. Bryan Lightfoot, Company C, 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion attached to 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and Spc. Joe Winebarger, Company C, 422nd CA Bn., together, are doing what Soldiers do best — making a challenging task seem like a piece-of-cake.

    The two Soldiers are in the process of composing contracts for renovations to approximately 150 schools throughout Iraq's Ninewa province in just 100 days.

    Lightfoot said getting the contracts done so the schools can be upgraded, thereby providing better education facilities for Iraqi children, is no doubt a priority.

    "All across Ninewa province they are a lot of infrastructure-like schools; they have been neglected for years and need to be refurbished," he said. "After these contracts are finished, new wiring, playgrounds, running water, and more efficient classrooms will be something Iraqi children in Ninewa province can look forward to."

    Before the two Soldiers were assigned to generating the contracts on March 5, they were on the ground almost daily, going out with teams to sites where school renovations were being made.

    They both have seen, first-hand, the bad shape the schools were in, making it easier to understand the importance of the mission.

    "We've seen bullet holes in the windows of the schools. We've known personally how hot it gets in those buildings. They are often overcrowded and unsanitary," said. Winebarger. "Having seen all this, it definitely gives a somewhat personal sense of urgency and makes us even more dedicated to the job."

    The staff sergeant said once the Ninewa Directorate General of Education and the Provincial Reconstruction Team provided him and Spc. Winebarger with a compiled list of estimated costs for each school, they had everything they needed to execute their mission.

    "Right now we have generated about one hundred contracts. We have about fifty more to do. Once all the contracts are approved, we're hoping that contractors can be on the ground in six to eight weeks, putting the plans into action," said Staff Sgt. Lightfoot.

    The Iraqi Commanders Emergency Response Program will fund the renovations and local Iraqi contractors will provide labor for the project, providing an economic stimulus for local Ninewa residents.

    "Not only will the renovations provide much better learning facilities for the children, but this project is also pumping money into local communities," said Staff Sgt. Lightfoot. "That's killing two birds with one stone."

    Winebarger said he feels truly honored to be a part of it all.

    "Altogether, this is a very original approach to civil military operations. No one else has accomplished a feat like this before. All the long, late nights of work are totally worth it," said Winebarger.

    "Doing this makes me feel as if I've contributed to the welfare of the Iraqi people and things like this definitely put a very positive spin on Operation Iraqi Freedom," he said.



    Date Taken: 04.17.2010
    Date Posted: 04.17.2010 15:59
    Story ID: 48290

    Web Views: 288
    Downloads: 219