HAQLANIYAH, Iraq (March 27, 2008) — Marines and Sailors delivered the first batch of personal protection equipment, valued at $118,000, to employees of the Northern Petroleum Company at the K3 Oil refinery March 25.
“During the former regime, protection for the laborers and employees was not available,” said the Iraqi manager of the refinery through an interpreter. “We hope the relationship between our two great nations will remain and grow stronger and stronger.”
The Marines and Sailors, who are assigned to Civil Affairs Group Detachment 1, Team 6 of the Camp Pendleton-based Regimental Combat Team 5, capitalized on a Multi-National Force - West sponsored initiative introduced by Brig. Gen. Martin Post, deputy commanding general, MNF-W.
“They had flip flops that their toes stuck out of, and no eye protection, nothing to protect their hands, and no hearing protection,” said Lt. j.g. Eric Palmer, the team leader of Team 6 and a Colorado native. “We’re providing everything from hearing protection, facial shields, goggles, gloves, coveralls, and steel-toed boots. We’re also providing the fire department with bunker gear.”
When fully operational, the refinery, in conjunction with the Haditha Dam located several kilometers away, will roughly double Anbar’s electricity production.
“This is a good day,” said 1st Lt. Brian O’Shea, the executive officer of Civil Affairs Group Detachment 1, from Staten Island, N.Y. “It is one of many first steps on the road to economic self-sufficiency for Al Anbar Province.”