Iraqi water pump workers visit Q-West
November 9, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - A group of Iraqis who work at the Al-Qayyarah pump house attended a luncheon in their honor Nov. 2 at the dining facility at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Iraq.
Col. Larry Phelps, the 15th Sustainment Brigade commander and a Greenville, Ala., native, presented a plaque to the workers and said it was a small "thank you."
U.S. Soldiers and the Iraqi workers got to know one another speaking through an interpreter.
"Our goal is to bring water to Q-West," said pump foreman Abdullah Ahmed.
The Al-Qayyarah pump house recently averaged 800,000 gallons of water pumped daily, said Capt. John Sutterfield, a Midway, Ga., native and public works director. He said the directorate of public works oversees major repairs using contractors, while the workers take care of day-to-day operations and maintenance.
"No pump house - no Q-West," Phelps said. "That's the truth."
Phelps said he was not impressed by the greatness of the pump house.
"It impressed me because it works well with what you've got," he said.
Some of the workers said they were grateful to be invited to the luncheon.
"(When someone does a good job), you invite them to eat bread with you," said Subaa Khamees, an assistant manager for an Iraqi engineering company.
Phelps told the workers he would have preferred to cook for them himself.
"There are many folks who think our cultures are different, but really they're not," he said.
Phelps said the two cultures were alike, in that meal invitations at home are reserved for friends and those people are fond of.
Naif Dhahy, the pump house manager, told Phelps, "We really appreciate you guys today and hope you come down to the pump house."