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Hachem Aftan Alsherji, who works for the Al Batra'a company watches as Cpl. John C. Trevino, the disbursing noncommissioned officer in charge, Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group, for Combat Outpost Rawah, counts out one of the stacks of Iraqi money as 1st Lt. Daniel M. Thomas, the team leader for Detachment 1, Civil Affairs Team 5, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, watches June 10. Hachem received payment for the contract work he and his company have completed on the bank and courthouse in the city of Rawah. The courthouse and bank are being refurbished before being turned back over to the local government. The buildings were previously used as posts by Coalition forces.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

Rawah contractor makes bank

10 Jun 2008 | Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

Stacks of money were piled on the table as the local contractor counted his payment.

Marines with Detachment 1, Civil Affairs Team 5, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, had stopped by two of their biggest projects, a bank and a court house, to assess the development and pay the contractor for his work so far.

“The projects are nearing completion,” said Gunnery Sgt. Gary M. Gonzalez, 39, from Alhambra, Calif., who is the staff noncommissioned officer in charge and assistant team leader for CA Team 5. “We have already made several payments on the courthouse and this is the first one we made on the bank.”

The payments are set to coincide with the work that has been completed. Instead of paying for a project in full, the CA team makes payments as work is completed. 

“We like to pay them in installments because it prevents us from paying for repairs that are not getting done and it gives them an incentive to work more efficiently,” said Gonzalez. “The better (they) work, the faster (they) get paid.”

Fresh paint and several new fuse boxes were a few of the new additions to the buildings, which use to be used by Coalition forces.

“They are finishing the teller counters in the bank and they have completed rerunning the electricity and installing the lights and fans,” said 1st Lt. Daniel M. Thomas, 24, from Santa Barbra, Calif., who is the team leader for CA team 5. “They have also finished attaching the courthouse to the power grid as well as fixing its bathrooms and painting the exterior.”

Once completed, the buildings will be turned over to the local government to serve the needs of the people.

“Up to this point, the judge has only been able to try civil disputes from his home," said Thomas. “When the courthouse is finished, he will have a place to conduct criminal cases, which will help maintain the rule of law.”

The citizens of Rawah have also had to make due by using one of the religious centers as a bank until the bank building is complete.

“The bank is an important project because it will assist the economy by placing a centralized bank within Rawah,” said Thomas.

The same contractor is doing both buildings and the people of Rawah have already benefited because most of the workers come from within the city.

“The contractor we are working with is very cooperative and is doing a good job,” said Thomas. “The thing I am most impressed with is the speed at which (the jobs) are being completed.”

Both buildings are scheduled to be complete by the end of the month. The biggest reward will be the services the buildings will provide to the public and the stability to the infrastructure they will provide.