Hey there, everybody. Yes, it is August. The calendar month may change but conditions do not, both in terms of weather and mission.
Our engineer soldiers remain busy and focused on some major projects at hand. A few of them are helping our fellow soldiers who continue to leave the cities according the security agreement.
One of our main efforts is a bridge project over the Tigris River that links Taji to Istiqlal in northern Baghdad. Once it is completed, more of our soldiers will be able to travel a shorter distance and not have to go into any major cities. This helps continue our efforts to reduce our footprints in the cities and once again support the security agreement.
In the meantime, Iraqi soldiers and Federal Police appear to be doing well in maintaining security around Baghdad. The 225th Engineer Brigade still remains poised in our roles as trainers and advisors to the Iraqis. In fact, our Task Force Iron Claw Academy held another training session, honing the Iraqi's skills in the areas of route clearance of IEDs and medical operations.
Also significant is the Islamic religious observance of Ramadan, which begins August 22nd and continues for 30 days. Muslims fast during this period of mercy and generosity.
August is also a time for change for the 225th as one of our battalions, the 46th Engineer Battalion, an active duty unit from Fort Polk, LA , will be heading home after a 15-month deployment. They will be replaced by the 101st Engineer Battalion of Massachusetts, the oldest engineering unit in the U.S. Army.
Louisiana's 225th engineers are proud of our accomplishments contributing to the safety, security, and stability of Baghdad by, with, and through our Iraqi counterparts, but we know our mission is far from over.
Please keep us in your prayers. Email me and I will continue to share your well wishes with the soldiers of the 225th. And in case you would like to send snail mail, here's my address again:
Lt. Col. Simon
225th Engineer Brigade
APO, AE 09344