Capt. James Anthony, commander of Co. C, 1-30th Inf. Regt., watches as children play at the al-Alemia school in Arab Jabour. Anthony and his company have helped to rebuild the school. (Courtesy photo)
FOB Kalsu, Iraq, Thursday, 24 April 2008
By Sgt. Jason Stadel
After months of fighting, Coalition forces in Arab Jabour have rid the area of al-Qaeda in Iraq and turned their attention to rebuilding the community.
Those efforts have opened numerous schools, water pumps and health clinics in Arab Jabour. The Islah School, Al’ula School and al-Alemia School are currently undergoing repairs in Arab Jabour.
Capt. James Anthony, commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and his Soldiers are overseeing the repair of the al-Alemia School in the Bayija village.
Anthony said the school was in disarray after AQI used it as a base of operations.
“The exterior walls were destroyed and whole classrooms were demolished,” said Anthony, from Byhalia, Miss. “All of the electrical wiring had been removed to include the generators powering the water filtration system.”
It was assessed that more than 50 percent of the area’s AQI leadership lived near the school.
The battalion conducted numerous combat operations in the area, resulting in many AQI members being killed, detained or fleeing. After the operations most of the AQI leadership was gone but they left behind dangerous traps for Coalition forces and citizens.
“Multiple (improvised explosive devices) were found on the school grounds, as well as in several of the stairwells and classrooms,” Anthony said.
Company C removed the IEDs and within two days nine teachers and more than 35 students began classes, Anthony said.
Company B, 1-30th Inf. Regt. Soldiers saw a similar trend at the Al’ula School in the village of Abd al-Salman. Since AQI was forced out of the area in late 2007 and early 2008, more than 800 children have returned to school.
When Anthony and his company saw residents’ eagerness for their children to return to school they made it a priority to repair and improve the school.
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