|Heroes do more than just destroy their enemies: They also build up their friends. During an eight-month deployment in Iraq, Chief Cissell oversaw $30 million worth of reconstruction efforts in southwest Baghdad.|
When his team of 20 people arrived in an area known as the “Triangle of Death,” they faced neighborhoods without utilities, schools without supplies, and hospitals that were inoperable. As the team began to build up the infrastructure, insurgents attempted to thwart the reconstruction efforts. On two occasions they succeeded by destroying a council building and a police station.
Cissell had the buildings rebuilt; a signal that reconstruction efforts could be slowed but not defeated. Cissell's job was largely one of management: He had to work with engineers and local contractors, with mayors and local sheiks, all in an effort to make sure that the construction efforts were geared to what the townspeople and local governments wanted.
In all, Cissell's team built 14 schools, four hospitals, five main water stations, four sewage pumping stations, two council buildings, two major police stations, and several electrical grids to distribute power throughout the neighborhoods.
For his leadership and service, Cissell was awarded the Bronze Star on Dec. 8, 2006.