RAWAH, Iraq --
Smoke and fire damage scars the walls of what used to be the Rawah Post Office.
The office had previously been used as an Iraqi Police post and was part of a Coalition forces post within the city.
After the post was demilitarized, Marines with Detachment 1, Civil Affairs Team 5, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, put together a project to help repair the damages. The contract for the project was signed June 19.
“We are paying (to repair) damages caused by a fire and for repairs that need to be done after the building was used by Coalition forces,” said 1st Lt. Daniel M. Thomas, 24, from Santa Barbara, Calif., who is the team leader with CA Team 5.
After performing a walk through of the compound to evaluate the damage, CA Team 5 chose a contractor to oversee the repairs.
“They will repair the front perimeter wall as well as scrape and repaint the interior, rewire the electricity and fix the bathrooms,” said Thomas.
In addition to repairing the post office, the contractor will also improve the town’s phone center by installing a new generator and adding office spaces.
“Right now, the manager and employees who work at the phone center and post office are working out of a small office with no air conditioning and no consistent power,” said Thomas. “An air conditioner and generator will keep the equipment from overheating and will allow the center to operate on a regular basis.”
The phone center is located in the same compound as the post office and has been operational since January. It is where the local switchboard is managed and provides phone service to the city of Rawah.
“Communication is a significant element to the cities infrastructure and the post office and phone center are the only ones in the Rawah district,” said Gunnery Sgt. Gary, M. Gonzalez, 39, from Alhambra Calif., who is the assistant team leader for CA Team 5. “As of now, the post office is operating out of a nearby house and the phone center is cramped with equipment and workers.”
Upon completion, the post office building will also house office space for the phone center.
“The contract requires the repairs to be completed in ninety days, but this contractor has a good reputation and will probably be finished sometime around mid-August, said Gonzalez.