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SAQLAWAIYAH, Iraq (September 21, 2008) – Marines with, Civil Affairs, Detachment 3, Team 4, attached to Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, inspect construction work during their visit to the al Iqitdar School Sept. 21. After being destroyed by a terrorist bombing attack, the newly reconstructed school stands as a symbol of defiance against insurgent activity in the community. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

Standing tall against terrorism

21 Sep 2008 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

SAQLAWAIYAH, Iraq (September 21, 2008) – It was local Iraqi’s unshakable resolve which stood at the forefront of a project to rebuild two schools destroyed in the wake of two terrorist bombing attacks last year.

 The Iraqis, with assistance from numerous Coalition Forces Civil Affairs Teams, finished reconstruction of the al Iqitdar and al Churhabil schools, Sept. 21.  

 Marines with Civil Affairs, Detachment 3, Team 4, attached to Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, managed the Iraqi-led reconstruction projects for the past six months.

 “We assisted in the funding, oversaw each phase of reconstruction and held Iraqi contractors to the standards of reconstruction in the work contract,” explained Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Zamora, the chief for Team 4.

 The completed projects met, and in some areas, exceeded the team’s expectations, said Sgt. Aaron M. Raher, a 28-year-old Security Chief with Team 4 from San Diego.

New structural support, refurbished class rooms and sustained electricity throughout the schools came just in time for the approaching school year.

The projects also provided jobs for local citizens, which is important to the growth of the community.

 “A lot of the local Iraqis worked on the construction teams and now that the schools are finished, teachers have a place to work,” said Raher. 

 The reconstruction of the schools was a major concern of the community, who has been very pleased by the projects’ completion, said Sheik Jasaam Humadi.

 The community’s fearless reactions to the terrorist attacks and their determination during the reconstruction period have helped to secure a bright future for the city.

 “Iraqis are trying to keep their children in school and keep them educated,” said Zamora. “After the attacks students needed a proper place to learn (and now they have two).”