By Cpt. Tony Massari, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. Public AffairsJune 15, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq- Soldiers of Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division have experienced the reconstruction of Iraq first hand while working with the Dhi Qar Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Attached to 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, the troops from the squadron are currently supervising the construction and implementation of 20 civil projects, including the rehabilitation of schools, courthouses, fish hatcheries, and dairy factories.
While overseeing the construction of the projects, the Soldiers work through the Dhi Qar PRT as it helps Iraqis develop a plan to realize the benefits of each project completed.
"Working on the provincial reconstruction team is a job that I never imagined I would have as a field artillery officer. Our platoon works very hard in conjunction with the Iraqi people to help sustain and improve the Iraqi economy and quality of life," said 2nd Lt. Dustin Kuhlman of Norwalk, Ohio, a platoon leader with Battery B, 3rd Bn., 29th FA Regt.
The Dhi Qar PRT makes recommendations for projects after they receive specific requests from the provincial government. The PRT includes experts in agriculture, rule of law, and engineering from the United States, Italy, Great Britain, and Iraq.
"This extraordinary blend of nationalities and talents yields tremendous results," Kuhlman said. "It's a great way to get out into the community and know you're making a difference."
The PRT also has a team of bilingual bicultural advisors who are experts in engineering and agriculture.
The BBAs include U.S. and Australian citizens who were born in Iraq and speak English and Arabic.
"The Bilingual Bicultural Advisors that we work hand-in-hand with on the projects really contribute to the understanding of the Iraqi people and the technical knowledge required in creating successful projects," said Staff Sgt. Curtis Fuller of Richmond, Calif., a platoon sergeant with Battery B, 3rd Bn., 29th FA Regt.
The members of the platoon get to experience projects being built from the ground up and visit each project at least once a month to report on the progress, Kuhlman, said.
"After four deployments to Iraq, all in different duty positions, I am finally able to work with the Iraqi people to assist in rebuilding their country and see the difference," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Sargent of Fountain, Colo., a section chief and project purchasing officer.