Spc. Lucas Peterson, a Plano, Texas native, talks to a group of Iraqi boys during a routine patrol in the Rusafa security district of eastern Baghdad. Peterson is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Multi-National Division - Baghdad. U.S. Army photo.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY
— Although, they are not who most people would call average war fighters, their mission is just as vital for survival. They conduct patrols, but their primary mission is not combat related.
“Team Metallica” is charged with assisting local governance to provide for the welfare of Iraqi citizens throughout the Rusafa security district of eastern Baghdad. The team consists of 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Soldiers specifically selected to handle reconstruction efforts. A civil affairs team, a tactical operations team and a security element encompasses Team Metallica that allows them to operate independently.
“We mentor, coach and teach the civic leaders on ways to make their neighborhoods a better and safer place to live,” said Maj. John Schulz, civil affairs team leader from Prescott, Ariz. “Once we set the conditions, we let the Iraqis work amongst themselves to solve their own issues.”
Under the direction of Capt. Timothy Green, a Cincinnati native serving as squadron effects officer for 3rd Sqdn., 89th Cav. Regt., Team Metallica plays a vital role in rebuilding Rusafa.
According to Green, the team has spent millions of dollars to aid rebuilding efforts in Rusafa, including projects to pave streets, issue business micro-grants and fund Sons of Iraq (Abna al-Iraq) programs. Team Metallica recently helped to coordinate the first Al Fadhl Neighborhood Advisory Council meeting. A direct result of this meeting was a street-curb improvement project conducted a week later, according to Green.
One future project on which Team Metallica is working includes a micro-power generating project for some of Rusafa’s poorest areas.
“We were able to start a micro-power generating project in one of the most ignored neighborhoods in Rusafa,” said Schulz. “Thousands of residents from Muhallas 125, 127 and 129 will not have to live in the dark (any longer).” The first of three ribbon cutting ceremonies will occur the second week of July, said Schulz.
Although Team Metallica handles traditional tasks such as giving soccer balls to children, they specialize in long-term projects that assist the Iraqi government in addressing issues for themselves. “This will allow the United States (Soldiers) to return home sooner, knowing that the job of country rebuilding is being done by Iraqis,” said Shulz.