Iraqi Provincial Council Members Meet With U.S. Soldiers
By Army Spc. Jazz Burney
Special to American Forces Press Service
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq, April 24, 2009 Deputy governors of Iraq’s Salahuddin province and more than 30 newly elected members of the provincial council and their guests came here April 20 to learn how U.S. soldiers and Iraqis are working together for peace and prosperity.
The visit included a tour of the Iraqi Based Industrial Zone, the Joint Expeditionary Forensic Facility, and the headquarters of the 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Coalition personnel showcased the progressive development of the province through the partnership of coalition forces and the provincial government. The day was designed to open the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team's door to the province’s new leaders and to establish a good working relationship between coalition forces and the newly elected legislators, officials said.
The tour’s first stop was at the IBIZ facility, where council members received a brief introduction to what the program is doing to improve the lives of local citizens in Iraq.
"The program here brings in local Iraqi workers from the community to a safe environment to learn, work and be taught carpentry, plumbing, electrical, wielding, heating and air conditioning repair during their six-month time here while being paid as apprentices," Army Capt. Adam McCombs, officer in charge of the IBIZ, explained.
"This is a great program that provides necessary skills for the Iraqi men in rebuilding their towns, villages, Salahuddin province and, eventually, all of Iraq," Army Lt. Col. Eric Angeli, commander of the 25th Special Troops Battalion, added. "Eventually, these skills will enable them to open up businesses throughout all Salahuddin and provide essential services to the people of Iraq."
The tour groups also experienced a brief, advanced forensic technique session at the JEFF Lab 4, where the Iraqi police colonel who processes forensic evidence for Salahuddin explained the training Iraqi police receive in using fingerprints to convict criminals in Iraqi courts.
The anticipation continued to build as the tour transitioned to the brigade headquarters, where soldiers explained different weapon systems displayed for the guests. Two mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles were on hand for the visitors to learn about and experience being inside with the help of U.S. soldiers.
Council members said they appreciated the access granted by the brigade, as soldiers explained their mission to the local leaders. The council was so impressed by the forensic lab that they are researching options to create one in the province, one council leader said.
(Army Spc. Jazz Burney, serves in the 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)