News: 'Blackjack' begins tour building civil capacity
Story by 1st Lt. Jeremy Aho
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – The 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division recently assumed the unique mission of assisting the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and Provincial Governments in developing southern Iraq's "civil capacity."
This new mission requires Task Force "Blackjack" to escort the PRTs to meetings with provincial leaders, inspect ongoing projects, and propose new projects in the area.
Since April 1, Task Force Blackjack has overseen the completion of 57 projects across Dhi Qar, Maysan, and Al Muthanna.
The PRTs who share this mission are a diverse mix of U.S. State Department employees, U.S. Agency for International Development representatives, international representatives. Each PRT has experts in industry, business, agriculture and law.
"The Dhi Qar PRT is a classic example on how much Americans, Italians and Iraqis can achieve when they work together," said Dr. Anna Prouse, who heads the Dhi Qar PRT, the last international PRT in Iraq.
"The arrival of the [4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment] is a perfect example on how far collaboration between military and civilians has gone. The PRT and the military bring different skills to the table, complimentary skills that, when combined, produce extraordinary results," said Prouse.
The commander of 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, Lt. Col. Christopher Engen said his unit has fully embraced the mission to help bring positive change to the Iraqi citizens.
"This has already proven to be a very interesting and rewarding mission, especially considering the long-term impact our efforts have on the people within these provinces," he said. "Our Task Force Blackjack Soldiers are excited to see the progress occurring within the surrounding areas, and to be making a difference in the future of southern Iraq."