Abu Amash, leader of the Sons of Iraq in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, speaks at a secondary school opening, March 23. Civic leaders, tribal sheikhs, members of the Sons of Iraq, national police and leaders from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team from throughout the Mada’in Qada were present to celebrate the event.
Combat Outpost Cashe, Iraq
By Spc. Ben Hutto
More than 80 people attended the opening of a new secondary school in Khargulia, a small town east of Baghdad, March 23.
Civic leaders, tribal sheikhs, members of the Sons of Iraq, National Police and leaders from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment were all present to celebrate the school opening.
“We have all come together to celebrate this special occasion,” said Abu Amash, leader of the SoI in Khargulia. “We have had schools before, but not a secondary school. This is truly a special moment.”
Amash thanked Iraqi Security Forces and the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team for their efforts in securing Khargulia from extremist forces that controlled the area almost a year ago.
“We thank the American troops and the Iraqi policemen for making this possible,” he said. “The security we have now would not have been possible without you. Students in this area will thank you for years to come.”
Students held a small ceremony to commemorate the occasion and raised the Iraqi flag in the middle of the courtyard.
Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., commander of Troop A, 3-1 Cav. Regt., spoke during the ceremony and expressed how honored he felt to help open the school.
Thomas has worked closely with local leaders to bring security and civil programs to Khargulia. He congratulated ISF leaders and the SoI on their hard work to make the area secure. He said it was hard work that made the school opening possible after Amash and local leaders asked for help. A project funded by the Commander’s Emergency Response Program revitalized the abandoned school, adding three classrooms, three offices and a bathroom.
“I have made a lot of friends in this area,” Thomas said. “I hope you all will remember what my Soldiers and I have done here for a long time after we have gone.
“I know it has been the dream of the people of this area to have a secondary school. It is just an honor for me and my men to have helped make this dream happen. The children that attend here will carry this country forward. I hope they will use what they learn at this school to improve their community and country in the future,” he said.
The school will educate 200 young men and women, said Hammed Hussein, a local educator. “This school will help our children understand and grow. Today is a great day,” he said. “We are very thankful for the Americans and all they have done here. They will always have friends here in this area because of this.” The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007