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Teaching a part of United States culture, Lance Cpl. Alex C. Brilla, a light armored vehicle operator with 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, high-fives a young Iraqi girl during a school re-supply mission May 23 in western Al Anbar province, Iraq. The platoon has been supplying the school for more than a month with school supplies and visiting it as much as they can. When the Marines noticed the students were in need of tables and benches, they sprung into action.

Photo by Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

Marines become big brothers to local kids

24 May 2008 | Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

It was a special day for Marines with 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, who delivered tables to a school outside of Rutbah, Iraq, May 23 with assistance from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 17.

The project was part of a series of operations conducted by 1st Platoon delivering school supplies, books and equipment to a school they have adopted as their own.

“We care about the school and the kids,” said Pfc. Bradley R. Clifton, a scout with 1st Platoon. “You can’t look at any kids in the world and not care about them.”

1st Platoon has been supplying this school for more than a month, visiting it as much as they can between operations to check on the kids. When the Marines noticed the students were in need of tables and benches, they sprung into action. After making contact with the Sea Bees aboard Camp Korean Village, they were able create the tables in less than a week.

“It felt good to help these people out,” said Sgt. David A. Wilson, a light armored vehicle commander with 1st Platoon. “It was worth every effort, especially for a school full of kids.”

The Marines delivered the tables to the school and were greeted with a warm embrace from the children and supervisors upon arrival. One by one, the children came out to play, sitting on the new benches with smiling faces. According to the Marines with 1st Platoon, seeing the kids’ reactions was the greatest part.

“The best part is being able to interact with the children. They don’t understand us, and for them to see us smile, they know we are here to help and get to know them," said Lance Cpl. Carlin D. Alexander, a scout with 1st Platoon.

As the operation drew to a close, the Marines handed out candy to the kids and gave them a soccer ball, bringing excitement to the kids’ faces.

“As much as we go out on missions, we try to support the local communities,” said Alexander. “It’s beneficial because these children will grow up someday and they are going to support us or the (Iraqi Security Forces.)”


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