Major Marci Hodge and a team of American troops worked with the local government in the city of Iskandariyah to get an Iraqi power plant up and running.
She and her team employed over 1,000 Iraqis to work at the plant, and in addition to that, another major success was to organize the shipment of children’s books from Jordan to Iraq.
And Major Marci Hodge was later awarded the Bronze Star for her work.
She’s so far spent twelve years in the Army, seven years on Active duty and another five in the Reserve.
Major Marci Hodge Says
"In this job, you find out what you’re made of; if you can hack it or not".
"I’m not interested in reliving traumatic events. The job is to create stability and win hearts and minds",
says Hodge, who spent eight months in theater this last time.
What Was Her Job?
Maj. Hodge, served as Division Humanitarian Assistance Officer as well as the Battalion Sustainment Chief for the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion,
She’s a logistician and civil affairs officer who says,
"I can move anything".
Like thousands of fourth and fifth grade level books for school children that the Department of State had been previously trying to move from Jordan to Iraq for the last few years with no luck.
Or such as in Iskandiayh, one of the fourteen different locations her battalion covered in Iraq, where she worked on a project with local government to get a completely staffed plant that had survived the war back to fully functioning capacity.
Working with one of the facility’s managers, one of the few who spoke English at the plant, Maj. Hodge’s team on the ground even helped establish organizational practices and human resources, bringing in corporate mentors from the United States.
Her team also worked to ensure that the plant would be in a position to operate without America’s assistance in the future.
They brought in older generators to their Forward Operating Base that the Army no longer needed but had the potential to refurbished, and presented the plant with and its employees with their first large project post-war.
Local Iraqi truck drivers were also employed to transport the refurbished generators.
"It put folks back to work".
And it’s the "folks" she interacted with that made the most significant impression on Maj. Hodge, including the Iraqi locals.
"People matter regardless of where they are",
she said slowly, emphasizing that people are the same despite miles of ocean and geographic boundaries.
"It’s your duty to give back. You give it everything you’ve got".
Other Jobs And Successes
During her deployment, a female Soldier in her battalion was sexually assaulted and realizing that she could be an asset to the leadership during this time, she served as a victim advocate.
Inspired by the positive impact she had in that role, she now works for the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office.
And as the only one in the office with recent overseas service experience, she uses her deployment experiences to explain how policies will affect other service members.
"It is just phenomenal to see the work they are doing. I am excited to see the progress and I know the work we do makes life better".