Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Lt. Col. Leah Moore of Monona is 6,714 miles from home at Forward Operating Base Bucca, aka Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq. She is the base deputy commander. When not deployed she works as the Wisconsin National Guard deputy surgeon in Madison, and commands the guard armory in Portage.
At FOB Bucca, there are several permanent infrastructures originally built to sustain Army forces and missions. These include a brick factory capable of producing up to 1 million bricks per month, an ice plant capable of producing up to 45 tons of ice per day, and a Waste Water Treatment Plant with the ability to sustain a population of over 50,000 people.
In addition -- and most importantly -- we are also currently overseeing the completion of a new water treatment facility capable of producing 2 million gallons of water a day. FOB Bucca is located above the largest aquifer in the region. The new water treatment facility is able to drill down to the water, retrieve it, and then treat it so that it is drinkable. While deployed here, our goals are not only to see through the completion of the construction of this water treatment plant but also to complete several projects that will provide local cities/villages direct access to our water, waste plant, brick, and ice factory assets in the near future. We also intend to provide the vocational training required to sustain these assets after our departure.
As far as the future of Bucca -- based on our location and established assets -- there are many potential uses. As of yet, a final decision has not been made on which if any of the uses will come to fruition. Regardless, we work daily not only to sustain normal operations incumbent to running a FOB (i.e. logistics, engineering, housing, safety, and contracting operations) but also to prepare the Base for its re-missioning (whatever that may be).
The challenge is to keep what we need now, anticipate what we may need in the future, and reallocate the difference to help out our fellow forces and minimize waste and cost. So far, we've identified and reallocated over 8 million dollars worth of supplies and equipment that may have otherwise gone to waste. We are very proud of our work and success here.
- LTC. Leah Moore
New York Times photo at left depicts a portion of Camp Bucca's detainee facilities months ago. Thousands of detainees have been moved north to other facilities for release or transfer to Iraqi custody.
More from Moore: LTC. Moore, who works full time in the Wisconsin National Guard medical office in Madison, was among the experts quoted in Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal article on new efforts to combat suicides by military personnel and veterans.