FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq – Over 300 letters from the students of Brookstone Academy, in Columbus, Ga., were distributed, Dec. 8, to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers stationed at Forward Operating Base Kalsu.
Students ranging from pre-kindergarten to high school seniors sent letters encouraging the Soldiers and inquiring about their lives and loved ones back in the United States.
As Soldiers read their letters aloud, questions ranging from "Are you scared?" to "What is your favorite sport?" filled the rooms at FOB Kalsu.
"This is a good opportunity for students to see that Soldiers are people just like them," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Harris, the non-commissioned officer in charge of civil operations for the 3rd HBCT. "We are hoping to use these letters as an opportunity to further build our relationship with Brookstone Academy."
Before the unit's current deployment, middle school students from Brookstone visited Kelley Hill, the home of the 3rd HBCT at Fort Benning, Ga., and experienced the day in the life of a Sledgehammer Soldier in a garrison environment.
Col. Pete Jones, the 3rd HBCT commander, is encouraging all of his Soldiers to write back and help the students understand what is going on in Iraq.
"I think it's a great opportunity," he said. "I've already have my two letters I'll be responding to."
In addition to responding, Jones will be filming holiday greetings for each class at the school.
"We want to get in touch with all the teachers at the schools and see if we can help any of their history classes," he said. "The brigade is currently in a very historic place. Not far from here are the ruins of Babylon. Alexander the Great died near where our FOB is. We'd love to send pictures and video back of places like that to help make those places more real to those students."
Capt. Kwesi Ramsey, assistant operations officer, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, reads a letter sent from a Brookstone Academy student at his battalion's headquarters on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, Dec. 8. Soldiers assigned to 2nd Bn., 69 Armor Regt., 203rd Bde Support Battalion, and the Bde. Special Troops Bn. received letters from the school's students.
Col. Pete Jones, commander, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, receives letters sent from Brookstone Academy students at his brigade's headquarters on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, Dec. 8. Jones's brigade received more than 300 letters from the academy's three schools.
Capt. Joan Hollein, commander, Headquarters Troop, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, laughs as she reads a letter from a Brookstone Academy student at her company's headquarters on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, Dec. 8. Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, received over 300 letters from the school's students.