Tenth Rotation of Salvadoran Soldiers Begins Duties in Iraq
By Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazo, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq, Feb. 26, 2008 The tenth rotation of soldiers from El Salvador assumed responsibility of humanitarian efforts in Kut, Iraq, Feb. 22.
A Salvadoran soldier salutes as the color guard of the ninth rotation of the Cuscatlan Battalion marches by during a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Delta, in Iraq, Feb. 22, 2008. The unit transferred authority and responsibility of humanitarian efforts in Kut, Iraq, to the Cuscatlan Battalion 10th Rotation. Photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazo, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
During a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Delta, Infantry Col. Walter Mauricio Arevalo Gavidia, commander of the Cuscatlan Battalion, 10th Rotation, took command from his predecessor.
The outgoing commander, Artillery Col. Jose Atilio Benitez Parada, spoke of his country’s continued goal to assist the people of Iraq.
“We Salvadorian soldiers of all ranks that form the Cuscatlan Battalion, Ninth Rotation, feel satisfied and proud of the labor … achieved with our efforts and the will to carry out our orders given to us by the president of the republic, commander and chief of our armed forces and by the people of El Salvador.”
The Ninth Rotation conducted 34 humanitarian assistance missions benefiting more than 15,000 Iraqi citizens; they also completed 22 projects worth more than $2 million. Three projects are still in progress, worth approximately $300,000, and 24 more are awaiting approval, totaling more than $3 million.
The projects run the gamut from health, electricity, water, education, communication, business development, transportation and reconstruction. The battalion worked closely with the Wasit Provincial Reconstruction Team to develop and execute the projects, U.S. officials said.
Several sheiks of nearby villages and towns who worked with Benitez attended the ceremony.
(Army Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazo is assigned to Multinational Division Center.)