By Pfc. Evan Loyd, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Public Affairs OfficeMarch 9, 2009
COMBAT OUTPOST MEADE, Iraq -- Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery presented 14 new tractors to sheiks from the Lutifiyah Nahia region during a ceremony here, March 5.
The battalion, part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, used funds from the Commander's Emergency Response Program to purchase the tractors, said brigade officials. Each ArmaTrac 602 tractor should help to cultivate an area of more than 25,000,000 square feet.
"When we were first asked [by the Lutifiyah council] we immediately wanted to help," said Lt. Col. Michael Mammay, commander of Task Force 4-27th. "Agriculture is very important in helping this area."
Brigade officials said battalion leaders have been working since November to transport the tractors from Turkey to the farmers who need them, as the council has continued to help coalition forces daily in their efforts to secure Iraq.
The improving security situation and decreased attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces and the Iraqi people has allowed the government of the Lutifiyah Nahia to continue improving the local economy, officials said, and the tractors are expected to allow area farmers to grow crops and contribute to the stability of the Nahia.
"We won't squander the goodwill of the Americans," said Sheik Hamash, chairman of the Lutifiyah Nahia Council. "We will use these tractors to help bring back the area to its fullest."
The Lutifiyah Nahia is a primarily agricultural area, 2nd BCT officials said, but previously its farmers could only work with hand-held or animal-driven equipment.
"Every day we drive down the road, we can see the green returning to the area," said Mammay. "With the tractors we are providing today, we hope to see even more green return."
The 4-27th is a U.S. Army Europe unit based in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.