Face of Defense: Airman Helps to Make Iraq Greener

KIRKUK, Iraq, May 17, 2011 — After six straight days on the job, peo­ple usu­al­ly use their day off to rest and recov­er before their week starts again. That’s not the case with a group of air­men deployed to Con­tin­gency Oper­at­ing Site War­rior, Iraq.

Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Iraq
Air Force Senior Air­man Troy Jenk­ins looks for trash to pick up off the side of the roads at Con­tin­gency Oper­at­ing Site War­rior, Iraq, April 24, 2011.
U.S. Air Force pho­to by Senior Air­man Andrew Lee
Click to enlarge

As areas of the base got dirt­i­er and more pol­lut­ed with trash, mem­bers of the 321st Expe­di­tionary Logis­ti­cal Readi­ness Squadron’s vehi­cle main­te­nance flight cre­at­ed a vol­un­teer project called Oper­a­tion Kirkuk Region­al Air Base Cleanup.

On any giv­en Sun­day, the pro­gram allows any­one from any unit to spend a few hours walk­ing around the base to pick up trash with fel­low air­men.

“I have enjoyed doing this, because while I’m work­ing, I’m hang­ing out with every­one,” said Air Force Senior Air­man Troy Jenk­ins, a vol­un­teer with the project. “We all have a good time togeth­er work­ing, so it makes time fly.”

Air­men of all ranks who want­ed to make a dif­fer­ence and cre­ate a clean­er atmos­phere have assist­ed in mak­ing the pro­gram suc­cess­ful by engross­ing them­selves in it and help­ing to con­tribute toward impres­sive results: more than 7,500 pounds of trash and debris col­lect­ed in less than three months since the project began.

“It’s nice help­ing out,” said Jenk­ins, who is deployed from Altus Air Force Base, Okla. “Any time you can put some­thing in a bet­ter spot than it was, it’s good.”

The vol­un­teers rec­og­nize the impact they have in keep­ing the grounds clean and kept up until Iraqi forces assume con­trol of the base.

“In the future, we will be giv­ing back this area to the [Iraqis], so we need to keep it in good shape,” said Air­man 1st Class David Mose­ley, a founder of the project. “We’re try­ing to show that it may not be our coun­try, but we do want to take care of it as much as we can.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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