By Staff Sgt. Jason Douglas, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public AffairsNovember 4, 2009
FORWARD OPERERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq - Families of Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gathered a variety of school supplies ranging from notebooks to markers. With assistance from Iraqi Soldiers of the 46th Iraqi Army Brigade, these supplies were delivered to the Jadeeda Primary School near Hawijah in the Kirkuk province of Iraq, Oct. 28.
According to 1st Lt. Sean Spencer, a Sierra Vista, Ariz., native and civil projects officer with 1/8th Cav., this school was selected during a previous visit to the village.
"[We] visited with the village mukhtar, and decided the children needed it," 1st Lt. Spencer said.
But more importantly, 1st Lt. Spencer said this was also an opportunity for the students and teachers to see the IA and Iraqi Police getting involved with their community and showing they were there for them.
Ahmed Deab, the village mukhtar, said the supplies were great and that it helps to encourage the students to study more and builds upon the relationship they have with the IA.
"We have a good relationship with the IA in the area," Ahmed said. "The IA come to the village whenever something happens or there is a problem."
The school headmaster, Motar Kalaf says the supplies are a welcome addition to his school and believes the supplies will also help motivate his students to learn.
"We've received a lot of supplies from the [Iraqi] education office but, this delivery will also help encourage the students to learn," Kalaf said.
Second Lieutenant Abdul Hadi Faisal, an IA officer with the 46th IA Bde., passed around school supplies during the visit and was happy to see the students excited.
"It's great, it makes them happy," Abdul said.
Abdul said interacting with the students and providing these supplies helps alleviate any fears the students might have about the IA.
During the visit, Ahmed and Kalaf also relayed some issues they had with their school. The two men both indicated that one of the school's structures was failing, a lack of consistent electrical power, and the road leading to the school was in need of repair. They would also like to have a secondary school built in the village since the Jadeeda Primary School was a primary school only teaching up to grade six.
"The school is old and we would like to have a secondary school because the older children have to go to Hawijah to attend secondary school," Ahmed said.
And as far as the road, Motar explained the teachers traveled from Kirkuk city, some distance away so when weather was particularly bad it made travel on the road difficult, often causing teachers unable to make the trip to the village.
According to 1st Lt. Spencer, these issues and others were already in the process of being addressed.
"Many of the buildings are dilapidated," 1st Lt. Spencer said.
First Lieutenant Spencer said additions to the school were also part of that consideration since the school currently seats 150 students, 55 more than it was built for.
"We have considered nominating the school for a reconstruction project."
While 1st Lt. Spencer's unit is nearing its redeployment date from Iraq, he assured the project would not be forgotten about and the replacing unit would pick up where they left off.