Capt. Andrew Hubbard, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, smiles as shoes donated by Brookstone School in Columbus, Ga., are distributed to Iraqi children in Babil province, Sept. 16. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Johnathan Roland)
Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs
Story by Pfc. Erik Anderson
BABIL PROVINCE, Iraq – As soldiers of the 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division prepared to leave the five provinces in southern Iraq they have been responsible for, there was still one last mission to complete.
In coordination with supporters at Brookstone School in Columbus, Ga., Phenix City, Ala., and Fort Benning, Ga., the soldiers dropped off donated shoes to the children of Iraq.
“There is nothing better than seeing the look on a child’s face when you give them something they need,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Roland, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment. “Even though we don’t speak the same language, you can see the excitement.”
The project, in coordination with the Babil Provincial Reconstruction Team, started with a modest goal.
“It is an idea based on the partnership between Brookstone School and two local Iraqi schools,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Boston, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd AAB. “When we started, Cindy Sparks [Brookstone School] estimated 50 to 70 pairs of shoes would be donated, but through the efforts of our supporters in the tri-city area and Brookstone School, nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes were donated.”
During this deployment, 3rd AAB executed an advise and assist mission while working closely with the Iraqi people.
“For the brigade, it is another example of our enduring partnership,” said Boston. “This project takes it one step further; it shows the enduring partnership that exists between Americans and Iraqis.”
The partnership started by the 3rd AAB will continue with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
“The children of Iraq are the future,” said Boston. “Our commitment begins with them.”