Soldiers work with Local Nationals

Sgt. Ryan Twist with the
139th MPAD, 13th ESC

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Local nationals from areas around Joint Base Balad travel here every day to work with the Department of Public Works which allows Soldiers to focus on their missions.

Soldiers of the 547th Transportation Company work alongside local nationals who are tasked with jobs from the Department of Public Works up to three times a day around Joint Base Balad.

The 547th Trans. Co. is split up into platoons which cover different areas of the base, said Jones. One platoon works security for the Iraqi Free Zone and recycling canter, another does security for the general, command sergeant major and VIP’s and checks the meeting locations and the other platoon does security for the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at the DPW and the joint operations center.

“The overall mission is to in-process the local nationals, get them to their job site, escort them to their details and monitor them,” said Sgt. Megan M. Jackson, a food services specialist with the 547th Transportation Company and an escort for the DPW program.

Pfc. Daniel A. Jones, a light wheel mechanic with the 547thTrans. Co. who is an escort for the program, said the Soldiers escort the local nationals for safety and overall security of the base and equipment.

Jones, whose first deployment to Iraq was in 2001, said he likes to work with the local nationals on some of the jobs. He said when Soldiers work with the local nationals, the locals tend to work harder for the Soldiers.

Soldiers are the first in contact with the local nationals at the entry control point and must act as liaisons to make a positive impression despite the cultural barrier, said the 547th Trans. Co. 1st Sgt. Terrance Smith.

Jackson, who arrived in country roughly a month and a half ago, said she no longer worries about going outside the gate, not trusting the local nationals or not knowing what to expect. She said her job has increased her understand of the Iraqi people and their culture.

“I get to learn something out of my scope of area,” said Jones. “I get to interact with the civilians.”

 

news photo
Staff Sgt. Anthony O. Hicks, a medic with the 547th Transportation Company, and Spc. George W. Pope-Reyes, a signal system support specialist with the 547th Trans. Co., watch over the local nationals for the Department of Public Works here on Joint Base Balad Aug. 19.Both Soldiers are considered escorts for the DPW which takes local nationals to do details throughout the base.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Twist)

 

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Staff Sgt. Nicole A. Mahon, with the 547th Transportation Company, puts on her gear to escort local nationals for the Department of Public Works here on Joint Base Balad Aug. 19.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Twist)

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Spc. George W. Pope-Reyes, a signal Suystem support specialist with the 547th Transportation Company, and Spc. Quentin Stewart, a motor transport operator with the 547th Trans. Co., are waiting for the local nationals they will escort for the Department of Works program here on Joint Base Balad Aug. 19.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Twist)