Soldiers deliver supplies, view new school building

Story and photos by Spc. Lisa Cope
139th MPAD
13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION ADDER, Iraq — Soldiers with the 36th Sustainment Brigade out of Temple, Texas, visited Al Soonobar School at Jaber Mohamed Village, Iraq, Nov. 18 to deliver school supplies and stuffed animals to roughly 45 students.

Lt. Col. Clinton Moyer, chief of civil operations with the 36th Sust. Bde., has worked with the school’s staff and the local community for roughly a year to build a new school.

Moyer, a Clearwater, Kan., native, said it is scheduled to be completed in January 2010.

“We helped with the plans for the new school; we helped get the project approved; and, as far as the actual building of the school, we have an engineer team, the corps of engineers, as the lead for going out and making sure that everything is done correctly,” he said. “Once the school got approved and they started building it, we were just kind of the conduit for it.”

The new school would facilitate more students at more grade levels and would feature running water and electricity, said Moyer.

“What they have right now at that school is three grade levels, 1st grade, 2nd grade and 3rd grade,” he said. “With the new school they will be able to go up to the 6th grade.”

Shaykh Sultan Kataa Jaber Mohamed, of Jaber Mohamed Village, said, through an interpreter, one of the biggest improvements to the area was a gravel road leading to the school.

“The gravel that America put over here to create a new road for them helps the kids a lot because it is about four kilometers to get to here,” said Mohamed. “It was so full of mud, they wouldn’t be able to do it before. They appreciate what (America) has done.”

Mohamed also said he appreciated the help from U.S. Soldiers with building the new school.

“Without American forces, we would never get a new school like that,” he said.

Spc. Elizabeth A. Patterson, a supply clerk with the 36th Sust. Bde., and an Austin, Texas, native, visited the Soonobar School for the first time Nov. 18.

Patterson said visiting the school helped her have more of an understanding of the local culture and their way of life. She said she thinks all Soldiers should be given the opportunity to see what life is like outside the base.

Patterson said she was amazed at the difference between the old and new school.

“It is crazy how they are going from a mud school to a school with running water, electricity (and) fans,” she said. “I believe that all kids deserve – no matter what country or how bad off they are – they deserve a good education.”

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Students at Al Soonobar School greet Soldiers with the 36th Sustainment Brigade out of Temple, Texas, Nov. 18 at Jaber Mohamed Village, Iraq. The Soldiers came to the school to distribute school supplies and stuffed animals to the students, who are scheduled to move into their new school building in winter of 2010.

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Soldiers with the 36th Sustainment Brigade out of Temple, Texas, and the students at Al Soonobar school gather for a group photo Nov. 18 at the school in Jaber Mohamed Village, Iraq.

 

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Spc. Elizabeth A. Patterson, a supply clerk with the 36th Sust. Bde., and an Austin, Texas, native, holds one of the local children at the Al Soonobar School Nov. 18 at Jaber Mohamed Village, Iraq. The Soldiers visited the school to deliver supplies and toys to the children.

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Spc. Ben Potratz, the noncommissioned officer in charge of civil military operations for the 36th Sustainment Brigade out of Temple, Texas, hands out stuffed animals to the students at Al Soonabar school Nov. 18 at Jaber Mohamed Village, Iraq.