94th Engineer Battalion clears path for security at CPA
Army News Service
Release Date: 8/15/2003
By Spc. Chad D. Wilkerson
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Aug. 15, 2003) -- Soldiers from the Vilseck, Germany-based, 94th Engineer Battalion are kicking up 20-foot clouds of dust to make the Coalition Provisional Authority's headquarters more secure.
"We are out here clearing out buildings for the security force protection of the CPA," said Staff Sgt. Roger Faust, noncommissioned officer-in-charge the 94th Eng. Bn detachment working at the former presidential palace of Saddam Hussein.
Soldiers in the battalion's Company B have taken on part of the security responsibility for the CPA at the presidential palace in Baghdad with the teardown and cleanup of unwanted structures, Faust said.
Five-ton dump trucks, backhoes and bulldozers kicked up 20-foot clouds of dust as soldiers scooped up and tow off the rubble of the old regime's destroyed military buildings.
The main threat concern for the CPA security is possible attackers that could cross the river in an attempt to gain access to the palace grounds, said Faust.
The engineers have been tasked with clearing out the bombed-out buildings that could provide cover and concealment for hostile intruders.
"Right here were a total of 13 buildings that have been taken down so guards have a clear view of the palace grounds all the way to the Tigris River," he said.
"We are concerned mostly with people crossing the river, and in case of any kind of attack we don't want to give the enemy a place to hide," said Spc. J.D. Wissinger, heavy construction equipment operator in the 94th Eng. Bn. "Most of these buildings were in terrible disrepair and were of no use to us anyway."
The push for security in Iraq is far from finished, said Faust. He and his soldiers are proud to make their contribution to the safety of the hub of the new Iraqi government, as well as the soldiers and civilians who guard it.
"Although major hostilities have ended, the real war is not officially over," said Faust. "We are out here doing our job. That is what I joined the Army to do and there is nothing else I would rather do."
(Editor's note: Spc. Chad D. Wilkerson is a journalist with the 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Baghdad, Iraq.)
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