From staff reports
Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown, deployed in Iraq as a U.S. Air Force reservist, is now the senior U.S. official in Basra as the British and Americans begin transition of authority in the area.
The U.S. commander in Basra has returned stateside, leaving Brown in charge of a U.S. force of some 1,500 troops.
"As deputy chief of the division transition team, I interact daily with the British military, U.S. State Department and British Foreign Commonwealth Office on specifics related to the transition of the Basra Province from British to U.S control," Brown said.
Brown, a lieutenant colonel with the 628th Civil Engineer squadron, has led a team providing engineering and project management support for the U.S. Army since his deployment late last year.
He has served as Oakwood’s city manager since January 2004. He has been deployed overseas two other times since 2005.
In his third trip abroad, Brown’s efforts have been "focused on how we allocate the space on the base for the move of the 10th Mountain Division and 2nd and 4th Infantry Brigades to Basra," he said.
"The work has included coordinating living spaces, offices, headquarters and parking facilities basewide. We are also working on offices for a new provisional reconstruction team, which will fall under the State Department.
"Those projects include roads, entry control points and force protection measures."
Brown said his work in local government has helped him in his duties, including dealing with various governments.
He described the conditions at the Basra base as "austere."
The weather in the southern Iraqi desert is dry and the temperatures this time of year hover in the high 80s. As the summer months arrive, temperatures will rise into the 120s. He said that despite the tough conditions, troop morale is positive.
"There are not many creature comforts," he said. "It doesn’t have the amenities of a U.S. base, such as a coffee shop, wireless internet and fast-food restaurants.
"But the people of Iraq seem to be glad that we are here, and the ones here on the base are hard-working and want to see their quality of life improve."
Brown said his group expects to wrap up its mission in early June, allowing him to return home and back to work in Oakwood shortly thereafter.
Patti Doss-Luna, assistant city manager, is overseeing city operations in his absence.