News: Chapel project on track for Christmas Eve opening
By Spc. Brian Johnson
BAGHDAD - At Joint Security Station Nasir Wa Salam, on the western edge of Baghdad, space is a luxury.
Areas for Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment to sleep, work-out, use the internet, and even hold church services are extremely cramped and overcrowded.
Engineers from 1434th Engineer Company are working hard to deliver an early Christmas present by completing the new chapel annex in time for Christmas Eve services.
Staff Sgt. David Robarge, from Holland, Mich., 1434th Eng. Co., said the new building will have many functions, not only a place to worship, but an area that Soldiers can come to relax during downtime.
"Right now, the chapel is in a small building with minimal space and a makeshift office. When the building is complete, the chaplain will have an area nearly twice as big as what he has now," Robarge explained.
This project has gone very quickly for Spc. Dan George of Gladstone, Mich.
"It's nice to know that this project is going to have a major impact," said George. "It will mean something to the Soldiers stationed here."
First Sgt. Marcos Hernandez, from Ft. Lewis, Wash., explained that the completion of the annex will initiate a number of major changes to the JSS.
"Right now, we don't have a lot of space," he said. "This will allow us to free up some of the space that we are using, currently, for common areas and convert them into other things, like additional sleeping space."
Hernandez is pleased with the new building that is being constructed.
"This is fabulous. This is beyond anything that the Soldiers here could have ever hoped for."
Robarge stated that barring any issues, the chapel should be complete by Dec. 24.
"I never thought I would be in Iraq, helping build a church at Christmas time," said Robarge. "I feel very patrotic about what we are doing."