A new test project along the Iran-Iraq border could herald the arrival of clean, safe, electric power that is needed at numerous outposts and border forts manned by the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement.

With the help of the U.S. Army, a single outpost was recently outfitted with a windmill generator and solar panels that will provide all the electrical needs of the Department of Border Enforcement guards manning the post, including pumping water from their well.

"These resources are critical to sustain support of DBE security forces," said a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Each design will modify an existing outpost and well, to improve sustainability using off-the-shelf components which have proven durable and reliable. Low maintenance is another enabler that makes these solutions an important part of the DBE."

Hameed Obid, an Iraqi engineer working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wasit Province Office, who is assigned to the project, said this first installation was being used to test the concept.

"The new power system will be field tested for one year and, if successful, will be adopted at locations along the border," he said. "Each system will come with operations manuals, spare parts, an operator training program, system tests and technical support is available by phone. Each month of the test project, an engineer will visit the site to assess how well the program and equipment are operating."

Third DBE Region Warrant Officer Muslim Khahidir, commander of the Said Safar outpost, where the project is located, was very pleased that his outpost had been chosen for the project.

Prior to the start of the new energy project, he and his men would only have electricity for four hours a day. They would run a small generator which was kept cobbled together with a variety of parts for two hours during the day and two hours at night. Those precious hours would be the only time that they had electricity for air conditioning and radios.

The new project has changed all that.

Now they have electricity around the clock. The air conditioning unit can even keep the outpost comfortable all day, and they can power unit-owned radios throughout the night. The project has brought a welcome boost to the morale of the soldiers at Said Safar, and is something Khahidir would like to see happen at other outposts and forts all along the border.

Maj. Brian S. Smith, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regt., 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said that his unit's advise and assist role has carried-over into this latest project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"We are partnered with the 3rd DBE Region and provide an additional communications link between the DBE, the Iraqi contractor and USACE. This project will reduce the outpost's fuel demand and possibly be the first of many similar projects along the border." Smith added, "Reliable electrical power is a necessity on the border, for both maintaining communication systems and quality of life demands. This is one of many U.S. Forces initiatives to bolster the Iraqi Security Forces' capabilities, confidence, and public image."

Staff Sgt. Bill Morris, B Troop, 3rd Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., works with the DBE agents in the area where the project is located.

"It is really great to see this sort of progress," he said. "This project has done a lot to improve the ability of the DBE to execute their mission and has been a huge boost to the pride and morale of the (DBE) agents at this particular outpost. I really enjoy seeing them succeed."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16