Natchez native training Iraqi army engineers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 4, 2009

BAGHDAD — Late at night, after the blazing sun has gone down, Soldiers from B Company, 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 225th Engineer Brigade and the 9th Iraqi Army Engineer Regiment work on building housing units for Soldiers at al-Rasheed in the Rusafa District of central Baghdad, July 30.

The dual-mission of providing new housing is coupled with training the IA soldiers to prepare the troops for the eventual withdrawal of American forces. After working with the IA Soldiers, Prietoruiz thinks they are ready.

The 16-by-32-feet buildings can house more than 15 soldiers and will serve as temporary housing for transient Soldiers.

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“The Iraqi army engineers want to be involved side by side with the U.S. Soldiers … as a team, together more and more each day,” said Staff Sgt. Cornelius Woods, of Natchez, non-commissioned officer in charge of the project. “It’s something wonderful to see.”

Woods paired the U.S. and IA engineers up into teams to learn all aspects of the construction of the B-Hut; from cutting, to framing to fabricating the buildings. With a U.S. Soldier in charge of each team, one on one instruction was given to each IA engineer.

Woods explained that all the hard work the engineers performed together did more than just build B-Huts, it built a stronger partnership.

“It makes the Soldiers happy because 20 years down the road, they can see what they accomplished. It builds morale,” Woods said. “They take group photos and tell us thanks for helping.”