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Iraqi students meet G.I. Jundi Spc. Ry Norris

Lt. Col. Essam Jabbar Kahdban, the 5th Iraqi Army Division media director, speaks to a group of children at Khalis primary school about the merits of crime prevention as part of "G.I. Jundi," May 3. The program promotes nationalism starting with the children as young as six-years-old.

DIYALA, Iraq –Young students eagerly spoke of their future careers as lawyers, soldiers, doctors and teachers to the Iraqi soldier standing in the front of the classroom. "G.I. Jundi," or G.I. Soldier in Arabic is an Iraqi army campaign designed to foster a sense of trust and confidence in their capabilities within the local communities.

Soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division and 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, visited the Khalis Primary School, to meet and speak with children about the responsibilities of an Iraqi soldier and emphasize the important role they also have in preventing crime, May 3.

"The IA is working very hard to bring security to our country," said the school Vice Principal, Isa Jafer Hamid. "They've come to reassure us what we already know: security has vastly improved."

The Iraqi soldiers placed a bright spotlight on crime prevention and making a positive difference in their community during their visit. They encouraged students to report crimes if they saw something that could potentially harm another person.

After the students finished talking with the IA, they were given gifts such as stuffed animals, radios, and personal-sized flags. With a flag in one hand, the students ran to the schoolyard to give a presentation of their own.

The children stood shoulder to shoulder, short ones in the front and tall ones in the back as if they were preparing for a class picture. Soldiers gathered around them, watching the group with interest. With a teacher as conductor, the students sang Iraq's national anthem with gusto.

"About 300 of them stood there gripping their flags and sang," said Sgt. 1st Class James Kennard, detachment non-commissioned officer-in-charge attached to 3rd SBCT, 2nd ID. "As they were singing, you could just feel the sense of hope, unity, and pride in the air."

The flags had the words "We Love Iraq" written on them.

At a time when a young democracy is developing and hope is flourishing, the children of the Khalis Primary School have shown a desire to help rebuild the country of Iraq.

"We are proud of how things have changed for the better," said Vice Principal Hamid. "Iraq is enriched by its people."

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This work, Iraqi students meet G.I. Jundi, by SPC Ry Norris, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:05.03.2010

Date Posted:05.10.2010 07:18

Location:DIYALA, IQ

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