On the Road Again: LTG Semonite at Mosul Dam


[Music] LTG Semonite: Good morning, I’m Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, 54th chief of engineers and we’re on the road again, today I’m really excited
to be in Mosul, Iraq, with our great team of Corps of Engineers civilians
officers and NCOs, Sergeant Major Houston and I had a chance to get in here and spend
all day yesterday walking through this unbelievable project, with me is the
commander of the Task Force Mosul Dam project here Mike Farrell, Mike, you’ve
been here a long time, unbelievably complicated project, not only from the
technical perspective but just the politics of bringing this all together and
then we’re actually working for the State Department with support by DoD
tell our Corps of Engineers team a little bit about the scope and
some of the technical complexities of what you’re trying to do here, Mike
COL Farrell: As you can all see we’re on Iraq’s largest dam, earthen embankment dam
about 3.4 kilometers long this foundation here is dissolving, so
the effort is truly an international effort with the Corps of Engineers and Italian
security force as well as an Italian contractor, all of us working under the
Ministry of Water Resources in a very close collaborative relationship
working to grout the foundation of the dam and replace those voids as the
material dissolves with cement grout to stabilize the foundation, we’ve also, if
you look over on the far left of your screen you can see that there’s major
bottom outlets coming through, there’s a hydropower plant here, the full spectrum
of dam safety projects and work is going on here it’s really just an unbelievable
experience to be a part of it LTG Semonite: So Mike we’re standing right on the side
of the dam, I hear water in the background that’s coming through the side
there and this is where, had in fact this dam failed, it would have gone all the
way down to Baghdad, so clearly a life safety issue here but on the other hand
this dam holds water for flood control, for water supply, for irrigation
so absolutely critical not only to the safety of the region but probably
internationally as well so a lot of big ramifications here if something
were to go wrong With me also is Steve Kelly the resident
engineer, Steve, you’ve been here ten days thanks for deploying, the colonel talked a
little bit about some of the technical complexities of the dam but what’s it
like to be a senior civilian over here how do you put a team together bring
everybody together and how do you work all through all the dynamics of being
able to support a big project like this? Kelley: This is an outstanding opportunity
we have professionals, we have army officers and NCOs, we have Army Corps of
Engineers professionals we have contractors from AECOM providing
engineering and geology and we also have engineers from the Iraqi local populace
supporting our team, this is an incredible project, we’re providing
oversight over a contract awarded by the Iraqi water resources to world-class
Italian construction firm called Trevi they’re doing incredible works
it’s the largest drill and grout project in the Corps of Engineers right now, they
have actually injected 32,000 cubic meters or the Washington Monument into
Mosul Dam to protect it for the future also we’ve built a thousand person housing complex, replacing nearly all the
a dam infrastructure and most importantly we’re integrating Iraqi
workers into the workforce so they can take over operations and maintenance of this dam
when we leave, we currently have 130 and we’re on our way to 250 Iraqis
maintaining Mosul Dam LTG Semonite: I think that’s one of the most complex things, not only are we here to be able to strengthen the dam but then to be able
to transition, yesterday we were all down inside the dam about 2.2 kilometers long
about 1.3 miles and then 2,200 holes drilled all down in the ground 100 meters
to be able to help put all this grout back in, very very complicated stuff but
then how do you train those Iraqis to take it, because at the end of the day on
all these missions we’ve got to be able to make sure we can pass off these
missions to local nationals who can take it on, I’m real impressed with what
you guys have done, formed an unbelievable team here and not only is
this is technically one of the most complex projects we’ve done but in a
complex battlefield and about a year ago I mean ISIS was ten miles
down the road fighting down here and we’ve deployed a great team to
be able to make this happen, so Steve thanks for signing up and doing things
if you want to come to Mosul Dam and be one of the best teams the Corps has
had, go see the TAD enlistment guys and have them put you on
the roster to come on over and Mike you’ve been here a long long time Mike’s
getting ready to transition out of this but on behalf of the entire Corps
team, Department of Defense, Department of State, thanks for your personal
leadership here, without that we would not have been as successful as we are
so outstanding job, appreciate all you’re doing so the bottom line is, we’re Army
Strong, we’re Building Strong, but in Mosul Dam today we’re going to be
finishing strong with one of the best teams we’ve seen
thanks for a job well done, guys

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