12 March 2009

Things that make you say "Huh."

In true lead-from-the-rear fashion, I was doing paperwork on the FOB today while my boys were out battling the forces of evil.  SGT C was out doing a "Key Leader Engagement" in a village nobody remembered visiting.  SGT B went to look at a couple of schools.
I was standing around when SGT C got back.  He caught my eye and rushed over.
"Hey, man," I said.  "How was the mission?"
"You'll never believe what we found," he said, more or less bouncing up and down.  You kind of have to KNOW SGT C to realize how odd the bouncing is - he's a Very Large Man, a prison guard in real life, and is NOT prone to excessive enthusiasm about...well, anything.  Great NCO and smart man, but...low-key.
Also, there's isn't much one "would never believe" can be found here.  Bodies, bombs, cash, pickup trucks from Canada, New Kids on The Block T-shirts, heads, empty tequila bottles...you find a lot of weird shit in Iraq.  So I looked at C, intrigued.
"We found about a million dollars worth of water purification equipment.  In conexesIn the desert."
"Huh?" responded the quick-witted team sergeant (me).
"You know those big sediment tanks?  Like six of them.  And pumps.  Lots of pumps.  And the filters they use on the big filtration plant by the Tigris.  And -"
Long story short, C and the platoon that owns the area in question dropped in to say, "hey."  They struck up a conversation with the local bubba, who pointed out that his village was supposed to have a water filtration project and, in fact, had once been awarded a water filtration project.  But the contractor, the local bubba said, dropped some stuff off, got paid, then ran away.  Leaving, oddly, enough equipment for not ONE water filtration plant capable of filtering and providing water for 6-8 small villages, but three or four such projects (because that's, roughly, what one could do with that number of tanks and pumps).  This occurred, it seems, in early 2006.
So now comes the fun part, wherein C wrote a detailed SITREP with imagery and grids, and I launched it off to God and Everybody to see if, perhaps, someone out there knows where this equipment ought to be or, even better, has a good idea of what might be done with it.  With the best of intentions, the US threw a lot of money around without a lot guidance the first few years here.  Now, once in a while, we get to deal with the consequences of that cash festival.  This seems to be one of those situations.