Good neighbors bolster villages

By Pfc. Leah R. Burton
Staff writer

Operation Anaconda Neighborhood, a 13th Corps Support Command Civil Affairs project, is rebuilding one section of a war-torn and poverty stricken Iraq.

Most 13th COSCOM civil military operations fall under the umbrella of OAN, which encompasses all the building, repair, reconstruction and reestablishment of the social and materiel infrastructure in villages surrounding LSA Anaconda.

This includes electrical power generation, irrigation systems installation, repairs to civic or cultural facilities and the purchase or repair of civic support vehicles.

"LSA Anaconda in past weeks and months has been subjected to daily mortar and rocket attacks. This is no secret. The bad guys know this, and we know this. Civil military operations help win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and lessen the number of people who would send rockets and mortars to LSA Anaconda," said Col. Nicholas Zoeller, the 13th COSCOM Civil Affairs officer.

The 172nd Corps Support Group sponsored a school renovation. Aside from bringing in the new furniture and installing the appliances, the $40,265 project is completed.

"The Iraqi people are very proud of their renovation," said Master Sgt. Johnnie L. Davis of 172nd CSG.

The school that the 29th Signal Battalion sponsored was for the children of the village who didn't have a school nearby. So the children had to walk to a neighboring village to attend classes. The journey was dangerous as the road was prone to frequent mortar and rocket attacks.

"[The children] don't have to walk through dangerous territory any more. Now they have a school in their own backyard," said Sgt. 1st Class Tommy Carson of 29th Sig. Bn.

"Less than one percent of the world will ever get the opportunity to do what we're doing right now. The children of Iraq are the future of Iraq. Twenty years from now when you're retired and doing whatever you're doing back home, you are still making a difference in another country because of what you did in that one year you were there," Carson said.

Several units on post have taken on these projects. The 31st Corps Support Hospital volunteered to oversee the remodeling of the Balad Hospital. The 172nd Corps Support Group is responsible for a driver's training program that teaches Iraqi drivers how to drive military vehicles. The 852nd Rear Area Operations Center oversees a generator repair and replacement power restoration project. Many more units have undertaken similar projects and more than 100 projects have already been completed.

OAN projects are funded by the Commander's Emergency Response Program, a Coalition Provisional Authority fund provided for reconstruction assistance to the Iraqi people.