First Lieutenant. Benjamin Sevald, non-lethal targeting officer with Co. B, 2-502nd Infantry Regiment, supervises members of the Mamouri Tribe as they load water pumps onto a truck May 25 at Patrol Base Copper. (Courtesy photo)
FOB KALSU, Iraq (May 29, 2008) – Iraqi farmers near Patrol Base Copper received new means to irrigate their fields and provide clean water for their families through coalition assistance May 25.
Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, distributed water pumps and filters to local sheiks at the base, approximately 30 kilometers south of Baghdad. The pumps help residents use canal water to irrigate crops; the filters provide drinkable water.
“We’re very thankful for the support the Americans give us,” said Sheik Nahid, with the Gourani tribe. “We haven’t been able to farm our fields without water, but now we can make a living for ourselves.”
The Company B Soldiers worked with Civil Affairs Team 530, which ordered the pumps and filters through an Iraqi contractor to help stimulate the local economy.
“Since this is an agricultural culture, these pumps are essential to their way of life,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Sevald, a native of Grand Rapids, Mich.
The unit, out of Fort Campbell, Ky., has been at the patrol base for seven months. Due to improved security in the area, they have been able to use their resources to help provide relief and aid through projects in conjunction with CAT 530 in recent months.
“The local population greatly appreciated the efforts of our company and civil affairs team,” said Capt. George Morris, commander of Company B. “It is a small gesture toward helping them with the water issues in their area.”