Photo taken with SFC
Rohbucks camera by an Iraqi school boy.
SFC Rohbuck with a young friend at the Girls school in Al Bathah.
The 115th Engineer Group has
been working with local contractors to rebuild boys and girls schools in the Dhi
Qar province of southern Iraq. The Group Headquarters has facilitated
construction management on projects in An Nasiriyah, Al Batha and Al Khartoom.
This has allowed U.S. Army engineers a greater reach into the surrounding
communities by acting as the General Contractor on numerous construction
projects. The local CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) identified which
areas were in the most need. The design section led by Sergeant Major Randy
Bunker and Lieutenant Colonel Don Summit assessed the project and sent recon
teams to develop a scope of work.
Once the scope of
work was determined, a bid was let to the local communities. This is a
difficult process because mass media is not available and construction companies
are limited. However, many talented and eager craftsmen apply to work on these
projects. Once a contractor is hired for a project, the Design section
functions as construction inspectors and meets all financial obligations until
the school is complete.
Utah National Guard
115th soldier surveys the vast Iraqi
landscape from helicopter.
To ensure the safety of our work teams they are accompanied by a security
force of soldiers drawn from the Headquarters Company. It has been a real
challenge for CPT Jerry Baker, the Company Commander, to man the security
details and still leave enough personnel for the staff sections to do their
jobs. He has developed a rotating roster and everyone gets a turn. This
includes staff officers and senior non-commissioned officers. Most soldiers
like the duty and look forward to their turn outside the wire. When your turn
comes up it falls on the rest of your section to cover and make sure that the
mission of the Group continues.
This process has
allowed the soldiers of the Group to do more with less military assets and
provide jobs for willing Iraqi workers. The interaction with the children at
the schools is a side benefit. The majority of the children want to practice
their English and talk to the American Soldiers. They also like to look at the
Hummers we drive. Like children around the world, a safe place to learn will be
essential in the development of Iraq.