Local farmers gathered to meet with the commander of the area Combat Outpost (CP) at an Iraqi Police (IP) station in Radwaniyah to work on developing a farmers association. The commander, CPT David Simms, age 31, of St. Marys, OH, is the HHC 4th Battalion 46th Armor Regiment commander. They are met to create an organization that will govern agricultural development and financial assistance for the farmers of Radwaniyah.[# More #]
After meeting with the farmers, CPT Simms and 11 men from his company took me on patrol in their area of responsibility, checking on new developments. With a dramatic decrease in violence and rapid increase in commerce, monitoring growth is a major part of current operations.
We passed through areas that had not been reclaimed by the Iraqis that had abandoned their homes and places of work when the environment was unbearable. There were also sites that the U.S. had tried to establish, such as Hawasam Market, without Iraqi support, which had failed. According to CPT Simms, there has been noticeable difference in development and reclamation since the “Surge,” the change in strategy.
As we prepared to return to the COP, we stopped by a new canal project that was focused on bringing water to Radwaniyah. The canal is part of a system that starts at Lake Tar Tar and delivers water throughout the southern half of Iraq. Projects like this, where there is strong cooperation with the locals, are seemingly bringing a new viability to the community.
Once the patrol was finished, we returned to the CP where the men ate a good square meal and prepared to return to FOB Falcon. They were returning for a brief that CPT Simms needed to attend, a continuous part of military readiness. Upon arrival at FOB Falcon, CPT Simms linked me up with their battalion’s A Company.