FALLUJAH, Iraq --
“If it must absolutely, positively needs to be destroyed over night, call the U.S. Marines,” is a slogan that can be seen on various t-shirts and bumper stickers, but in Iraq, if it absolutely must be built over night, the Iraqis can call the Marines.
Marines and sailors with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, stopped by several restoration projects March 5, in the village of Shohabi.
Among some of the projects are two schools that are under construction and a mosque that is being renovated.
“It feels amazing to see the kids’ reactions as well as the adults and families,” said 1st Lt. Caleb Wells, platoon commander, Weapons Platoon, Co. G, 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines, RCT-1. “It shows them that someone does care about them.”
While stopping to speak to local Iraqi Security Forces officials, Wells reviewed contracts to make sure they were in order and to ensure the maintenance of the buildings went smoothly.
“They submit a contract to me, I review it and if it’s good I’ll write a letter summary to help it get approved,” said the Cary, N.C. native. “It will then go up to the battalion to get approved, then the regiment will pay for it. I want to make sure the contracts are good so everything goes very smoothly, so the kids could have a nice school to go to and, essentially, learn more in a better environment.”
The Marines of Co. G, have two responsibilities in their area of operation, said Capt. William Matory, commanding officer, Co. G, 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines, RCT-1.
“We’re here to provide over watch with the Iraqi Security Forces,” he said. “But as we provide over watch, we are also helping with economic development. I’m involved with coming up with projects to help rebuild the area.”
Matory made a stop during his visit to the area at one of the schools. Upon arriving, Matory saw the progress of the remodeling, and observed the conditions of the children’s learning environment. Some classrooms had broken windows and one of the room’s ceiling had been ripped apart.
“This school used to be chicken a farm during Saddam Hussein’s regime,” said an Iraqi contractor. “It was converted into a school after his regime fell. Now we are building it into a place that has better conditions the children can learn in.”
The current projects are on the road to completion and the Marines are happy with the current work.
“They’re going very well,” said Wells. “We were able to show the progress to Capt. Matory. Unfortunately we didn’t show the battalion commander today but he’ll come out to look at them.”
While the Island Warriors of Co. G are helping the community around them rebuild their lives, they are doing it in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.