News>Civil engineers restore electricity to village
Senior Airman Curtis Raymond lays high-voltage power cable Jan. 6, 2011, at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The cable will provide electricity for local villagers who were without power for more than 85 days. Airman Raymond is a 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman. (U. S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Keyonna Fennell)
Members of the 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron lay a high-voltage power cable Jan. 6, 2011, at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The cable will provide power for local villagers who were without power for more than 85 days. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Keyonna Fennell)
by Senior Airman Tong Duong
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
1/11/2011 - JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (AFNS) -- For the past three months, inhabitants of Bakir village, Iraq, were without power, but members of the 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, contractors and local Iraqi electricians worked together to install new high-voltage cable to restore electricity.
"This has been a joint effort between the provincial reconstruction team, (the 332nd) ECES and the Iraqi Minister of Electricity to restore power to Bakir village," said Maj. Walter D. Gibbins, the 332nd ECES operations flight commander.
While the high-voltage line traverses through Joint Base Balad, delays in the repair were partially due to the time it took to procure the replacement cable and local politics.
JB Balad has no responsibility maintaining the line, but villagers, many of whom work on-base, benefited from ECES efforts, Major Gibbins said.
In order to install the new cable, heavy-equipment operators had to cut into a road and dig an additional 1,500-foot trench, a job that required the help of more than 30 ECES Airmen from throughout the squadron who pitched in to unwind and lay the spool of cable weighing more than 14,000 pounds.
"It was a great effort for all of us to come together and make it happen," said Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Webb, a 332nd ECES pavements and construction equipment operator. "We just wanted to help out the people of Bakir village. Having to be without electricity is an inconvenience, and they were without it for 85 days.
"Its feels great to give back not only because we are in their country, but to show that we are here to help out those less fortunate," Sergeant Webb said.