Pfc. Zachary Maxfield of Cincinnati, Pvts. Aaron Oxenford of Upper Black Eddy, Pa., and Manuel Soto of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Spc. Robert Counts of Millington, Tenn., discuss their mission and role as vehicle dismounts before movement. Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Giannini, 4th BCT, 1st Armored Div.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Giannini
4th BCT, 1st Armored Div.
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – Throughout July, Soldiers from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, have been learning new skills and facing new challenges with the reconstruction of a nation.
The company has been working hand in hand with provincial reconstruction teams to assist Iraqis in facilitating the growth of key infrastructures in Dhi Qar, Maysan and Muthanna provinces by providing security while the PRTs try to improve conditions in a war-torn country.
“Working with the PRT has been pretty meaningful, just knowing that we are helping to build a new Iraq,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Mitchell, platoon leader.
The company’s main mission has been to escort and provide security for the PRT officials and construction units surveying and helping the Iraqis construct schools, clinics and other facilities. These projects will help Iraq transition into a more self-sustaining nation.
“Helping to rebuild a whole country, that’s something I will remember for my whole life,” said Pvt. Joshua Cheney, a member of A Co.’s Blue Platoon.
In addition to their primary mission as security escort, A Co. has been interacting with the local people and notable political figures. As they provide overwatch and dismount in the middle of towns, they are able to get involved and gain valuable insight into local customs and culture.
“Getting to interact with the local people has been a rare experience,” said Spc. Robert Counts, a medic from Millington, Tenn.
Traditional infantry and armor units have begun to adapt to the changing environments in Iraq, presenting new challenges and allowing Soldiers the opportunity to learn more about their host nation’s culture. Their mission has changed from combat operations to the role of providing security and assisting in the improvement of Iraqi communities.