Soldiers Instruct Students At Village Of Hope Vocational School
When Engineers first arrived with Coalition forces in the Hawr Rajab region last December the area was like an old time Western Set. The storefronts were boarded up, and there was an air of near abandonment. Because of the terrorist and insurgent activity, there was no activity after dark, and villagers and residents were fearful to leave their homes.
The Air Force Engineer Squadron set to work, both rebuilding and helping to restart the local vocational education program. They took the basic materials and constructed a school to teach building and construction techniques. The new school was located for security and also because of convenience on the Patrol Base Stone, in the Hawr Rajab village.
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Captain Josh Aldred recently turned over the reins to the project to another Air Force Captain. Captain Aldred and his engineer team of 30 airmen from the 557th Expeditionary Red Horse Squad have been actively teaching vocational skills to students at the school.
The school was dubbed “The Village of Hope” and instruction continues under the new Air Force Captain. Students learn plumbing, masonry, well drilling, electricity, and wall and frame carpentry.
“This has been a experiment that has gone really well. The students have been receptive and learned new methods and ideas, and the whole experience has been excellent,” said Captain Aldred.
There are currently 50 students at the school. The students will finish their program and will graduate this summer. They are continuing with the memory of Captain Aldred, and his 30 member military engineer unit, who are returning to the United States because their tour is ending.