Walls come tumbling down
June 20, 2009
BAGHDAD - Just as American teenagers hang out with friends on a hot summer night, Iraqi teenagers were doing the same, May 28, except their entertainment was watching Soldiers from the 46th Engineer Combat Battalion, (Heavy), 225th Engineer Brigade tear down barriers blocking a popular street in central Baghdad.
Many cheered, gave a thumbs-up or simply said, 'Good!'
The walls surrounding the small Combat Outpost known simply as 102 ,in the Rusafa district of Baghdad, came crashing down, further evidence of the implementation of the Security Agreement.
The nighttime operation opened up streets and buildings that guarded the walls that housed Soldiers from Troop B, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. The Soldiers lived and worked out of the run-down hotel in order to stay in close contact with the community and help train Iraqi Securty Force partners.
"It is significant that this route is being opened fully," said Brig. Gen. Owen Monconduit, commander of the 225th Engineer Brigade, as he toured the work site with Col. Tim McQuire, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
No one would agree more than the Iraqi residents.
"The Iraqis seem very excited," Staff Sgt. Marcos Lopez, of El Paso, Texas, said. "The teenagers were all giving thumbs up and saying, 'Good!'"
Each wall, a large wire mesh and cloth crate filled with dirt called Hesco barriers, broken down along Abu Nuwas Street is a visible sign of progress.
"At the direction of the brigade combat teams, the engineers are working to reduce the footprint in Baghdad by assisting with the removal of Hesco barriers as COP 102 is closed," explained the future operations officer for the 225th Eng. Bde., Maj. Shane Rauh, of Baton Rouge, La.
Lopez, the noncommissioned officer in charge of removing Hesco barriers for the 46th Eng. Combat Bn., described the work as important for the neighborhood. He said tearing down the walls would allow for better access to buildings that provide economic stiumulus for the economy.
"This project has a big impact on the community," Lopez said. "They are getting their neighborhood back."