Most mornings, soldiers of the 1073rd Maintenance Co., from my neighbor city of Greenville, MI, escort local nationals working with their Dept of Public Works, from the entry gate, onto Joint Base Balad.
The troops escort about 150 Iraqis to their worksites to do post beautification, which ranges from sidewalk sweeping to custodial upkeep, this according to 1LT Joey Degrammont, the 1073rd’s force protection platoon leader. These jobs give the Iraqis a steady source of income, he said. The Iraqis must be escorted because they don’t have the proper authorization to be left alone, according to base security measures, said SFC Kalvin Charania, the force protection platoon sergeant.
Despite cultural and language differences, the soldiers and Iraqis get along. The soldiers also take care of the Iraqis, ensuring the have water and food, and take breaks throughout the day.”There’s a lot of cohesion built up between the American soldiers and the local nationals,”according to Degrammont. “They’ve a good time; they’re laughing and joking.”
This working together, this expression of concern for the workers, this is the kind of little thing that, when added to many other things, will lead to a safe and prosperous Afghanistan. But the key ingredient is protecting them from the terrorists, so that the people can act in their own best interests. Great Job 1073rd!