Dec. 18, 2007

Virginia Guard troops build trust, goodwill with Kuwaitis

Leadership from D Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, meet with management of Shuaiba Power and Water Production Plant in Kuwait. (Photo by Shuaiba South Power and Water Production Plant)

By 1st Lt. Thomas Claytor
D Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment

PORT SHUAYBAH, Kuwait – “We must know our neighbors and they must know who we are,” is the guidance Capt. James Tierney has given D Company to stress the importance of host nation relations.

D Company is responsible for security at the Sea Port of Debarkation in Kuwait. Soldiers from the unit interact with various members of the Kuwaiti government, military and civilian populace everyday while conducting their mission. Given the number of daily contacts with Kuwaitis, developing good host nation relationships is a key element in maintaining security at the SPOD.

This philosophy brought two American Soldiers and a cultural advisor to sit down with Hussaub Al Hussaini, the director of Shuaiba South Power and Water Production Plant, and two of his chief engineers to know one another. On Oct. 25, Tierney met with Hussaini, and his staff to open a line of communication and get to know several important members of the industrial community at the SPOD. It was the first such meeting since 2003 according to Hussaini.

According to Tierney, the Kuwaitis were very hospitable during the visit. After exchanging pleasantries and opening conversation, Hussaini and his engineers gave their guests a tour of the power plant. They stopped at each section explaining turbines, furnaces and the computer system that made everything work. The Kuwaitis’ pride in their facility showed as they shared their stories with their American allies.   

After the tour, Hussaini shared pictures depicting damage the plant sustained at the hands of Iraqi soldiers during the invasion. He thanked the United States for its service and stressed the importance of working together.

The meeting with Hussaini and the power plant staff is a step in the right direction for Company D’s host nation relations, said Tierney. Hussaini said they will continue to visit members of the SPOD community to build trust and good will among its neighbors.

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