JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the 547th Transportation Company, 49th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) escort the local nationals who work to beautify Joint Base Balad, Iraq, and keep it clean.
They accomplish this through a joint Army and Air Force Department of Public Works program. The Army provides the security of the local nationals and the Air Force has contracted out the work to the Iraq-based Noor Al-Belad Company.
Air Force Master Sgt. Glen Brown, the self help non-commissioned officer in charge with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing and a Winona, Mo., native, said the goal is to manage units' requests for ground maintenance and have the local nationals clean those designated areas.
"This is basically base beautification," said Brown. "We organize the areas that need to be taken care of and they clean around the buildings and the busy streets at JBB."
Brown said there are roughly 175 people who come through the gates daily to work here.
"We normally split them up into different crews and then send them out with the Army escorts to clean the base," said Brown.
He said a lot of paperwork goes into doing this.
The Iraqis start coming through the gates around 8 a.m. and are ready to start being put into crews by 9 a.m., when operations go smoothly.
"For the most part, we have had good interaction with the locals," said Brown. "We have a good bond with them and it is fun to work with them."
Pfc. Daniel A. Jones, an escort with the 547th Trans Company and a Washington native, said he escorts different crews of local nationals around JBB every day.
"Today, the LN's are cutting off branches from trees around the fence line," said Jones. "Besides cleaning up the debris, it also helps with the force protection, so the tree branches are not hindering the sight of someone looking outside."
Jones said the Iraqis are always eager to come to work and show up with a smile on their face day after day.
"Them being happy makes my job that much easier," said Jones. "These guys that we're around are just like us, trying to support their family, and they love to work."
Hameed Rashed Abduallateef, a worker for the Noor Al-Belad Company, said through an interpreter that he has worked here for two years.
"I love to come to work with the Americans every day," said Abduallateef. "Thank God the work is good and I can support my family."