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Major General Carl Strock

MAJOR GENERAL CARL STROCK: Good afternoon, I'm Major General Carl Strock with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where I'm the director for civil works. I served in Iraq from April through September this year and a month prior to that in Kuwait as we prepared to go in.

There's so many thing that I could share with you today that I would like to, I'll just, I'll talk about three things really. One, as Ryan Crocker already mentioned, the gratification we had to see the confidence and the commitment of the Iraqis, the public servants in that country. That was illustrated in a really neat way when we got into country and found the river, the Tigris River waters rising uncontrollably, because the ministry had sabotaged all the controls, structures had been destroyed, and we recognized we had to do something, so we worked with engineers here in the United States and we built a model of the Tigris Basin and we got with our Iraqi counterparts, provided them cellular phones, and got the system back in operation and under control - took control of the river. We were talking about how proud we were of this accomplishment and one of our fellows said, "You know, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has 200 years of experience in water resources" and one of the Iraqis said "Well, that's wonderful; between the two of us we have 3,200 years of experience." And I think that really demonstrates the pride of the Iraqi people and certainly their competency.

The other thing that was really notable is the interagency cooperation we have with this great team of people that's represented here. People from all over the United States came, not only from government but also from the private sector to contribute to the rebuilding of Iraq and we worked together seamlessly. We left all of our old positions behind and became members of the Coalition over there and worked only on one thing, and that was what was right for the Iraqi people.

And the final thing is the importance of the infrastructure to the quality of life of the nation. I saw firsthand what insidious, deliberate destruction of infrastructure can do, and I also saw what benign neglect can do. And so I know that if we assist the Iraqi people in making the improvements necessary in their electrical and water and sewage systems that this nation's going to have a chance to make it. So I'm very proud to have been a part of that, and I look forward to sharing my experience with you. Thank you.