California National Guard Unit Spends Free Time Rebuilding Assriya
They work hard at night to patrol the area around the village of Assriya, near Camp Taji. They accompany night convoy missions as a security force.
Instead of sleeping, many of the soldiers spend their time off working to rebuild different schools in the village.
Since February members of the 143rd Field Artillery, 1st Battalion, Battery A, 2nd Platoon have worked to make various repairs and deliver supplies in support of the school rebuilding efforts. At first there were a few of the members involved, as volunteers but after a short time every single member of 2nd platoon was involved so there was complete unit participation.
“The younger guys are undergoing a cultural awakening, they are getting a opportunity to see a side of Iraqi life not normally seen and a chance to spend time with various citizens and Iraqi people,” said Sergeant First Class Richard Weaver.
Sgt Weaver is the leader of 2nd Platoon.
Sgt. Weaver is a teacher in his civilian job and one of the main organizers to the outreach to the Assriya schools being.
Weaver was previously deployed to Iraq in 2005, and saw the needs for materials during his deployment. So on his return he organized the efforts to minister to the Assriya schoolchildren.
The school repair work has been difficult for the soldiers but very rewarding. “The troops have learned more from helping the kids than they do as soldiers,” said Sgt. Weaver.