Friday, January 18, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 18 Jan 2008

From MNF-I, Armor Regiment Soldiers Delivers School Supplies to Children in Khadra.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — It’s a cold winter day at Al Ashbal primary school in the Khadra District of Baghdad. The broken windows and lack of electricity mean coats have to be worn inside the classrooms. Despite the cold, warm smiles appear as students see U.S. Soldiers walk in the school.

“Before today, the children had to share their supplies among their class,” said Muna Ibrahim Hussein, the school’s headmistress. “I’ve been having trouble getting all the supplies I need (for the students).”

Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division visited the Ashbal primary school, Jan. 8, to distribute much-needed school supplies.

The Soldiers brought bags filled with notebooks, paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, rulers and toys for the younger children. Soldiers also brought several dozen soccer balls, a favorite of Iraqi children.

While bringing supplies was the highlight of their mission, Soldiers had more than just pencils and pens in mind.

“This school hasn’t received the attention it needs …” said 1st Lt. Ehren Linderman, from Myrtle Point, Ore., tank platoon leader. “We brought the battalion civil affairs team to help us assess the school for any repair projects we can start.”

The civil affairs team, tasked with repairing infrastructure, is looking for a way to rebuild the school.

“We’re looking at putting a small contract together to repair the broken windows, doors and walls at this school,” said team member Staff Sgt. Michael Batdorf. “Basically, anything we can do to help these students focus on their studies and not the elements.”