FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2008 - Iraqi citizens gathered in Baghdad's Karadah district Oct. 17 to celebrate a new micro-power generator that will provide electricity to about 300 homes.

"It's a great day for the people of this village," said Mohammed al-Rubeiy, district council chief.

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division's 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, led the way in making the day possible, coordinating with the district council, which is the voice of the people, in assessing who needs power the most.

"Power comes second only to safety in these parts, and this area has seen increased security and stability in recent months," said Army Maj. Robert Machen, the executive officer for 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, and a Texas native.

Construction on the project began in mid-summer, and the generator provides constant electrical power to the neighborhoods. Besides providing electricity, a generator of this size also will boost the local economy by providing jobs and the possibility of attracting small businesses, Rubeiy said.

A 10-member team will maintain the generator, which will provide employment to 30 people during the construction phase.

Micro-power generator projects will continue to pop up all around Baghdad, officials said, due in part to the decline in violence against civilians and coalition forces. Continued Iraqi security forces presence has proven effective in "keeping criminals from operating in our villages," a local resident said at the opening.

Machen said 5-25th soldiers will continue to serve the people of the Karadah district, ensuring their safe return to normalcy.

"Many great days are in store for citizens in the Karadah district," he said. "This is history, and we are part of it."

(Army Sgt. Jeremy Todd serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)