Seabees put 'honest' effort into school opening

11 Jun 2003 |

Educating the youngest children in Iraq is the key to starting a new way of life for the people and giving them a new beginning.

The First Marine Expeditionary Force Engineering Group and Kansas City, Mo. based Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15 (Air Detachment) recently completed the remodeling of a preschool in Al Hillah.

The preschool, which is called Al Carama or The Honest, is open once again for the children four to six years old.

Marines of First Marine Expeditionary Force and naval engineers rehabilitated the school by replacing every thing from lights and fans to tiles on the floor. They gave the school a new look and helped get the children off the street.

"We saw a need here and we fixed it," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Billy Cloke, a construction engineer and a resident of Oswego, Kan. "When we could not get supplies we improvised and took what we could find and made it better."

The towns people and children pitched in when they could, and the engineers did the rest.

"I like helping the soldiers paint and they give me candy," said Huda Abed, a preschool student at Al Carama.

The Marine engineers and the Seabees have been involved with other projects and are helping with the humanitarian aid for the people here in Al Hillah. They go wherever they are called and provide construction aid needed to help rebuild southern Iraq.

"The people are happy to get their children back in school again and start rebuilding their community," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Baughman, an electrician and a resident of Indianola, Iowa.