Adhamiyah re-opens pool after refurbishing, 3-year wait

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Story by Sgt. Zachary Mott

Date: 07.02.2008
Posted: 07.02.2008 15:02
News ID: 21120
Adhamiyah re-opens pool after refurbishing, 3-year wait

By Sgt. Zach Mott <br /> 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office<br /> <br /> BAGHDAD – Backyard swimming pools are such a staple of most American towns that few even think to wonder about what life would be like without one nearby.<br /> <br /> For most people in Iraq, a dip in the local watering hole is either impossible or involves tempting fate in the ancient Tigris or Euphrates rivers. <br /> <br /> "This is the only swimming pool in Adhamiyah district. All of the children go to the river, and that's very dangerous for them," said Muhtad Hasan, a member of the Support Council of Adhamiyah who works with youth and education.<br /> <br /> The project to refurbish the pool and recreation complex began in March under the direction of the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. That unit recently completed its 15-month tour in Iraq and was replaced by the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, which oversaw the project's final days.<br /> <br /> The $150,000-venture helped re-open the pool after violence and subsequent damage from criminals left the facility uninhabitable more than three years ago.<br /> <br /> During the opening festivities, children ran around the deck with smiles and happily showboated acrobatic feats to gain the attention of the ceremony attendees.<br /> <br /> "It's really money well-spent when you look at the thrill that it's given these kids," said Lt. Col. Daniel Barnett, a Willard, Ohio, native, who commands 1st Squadron, 2nd SCR, which is currently attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.<br /> <br /> The adjoining recreation center has a boxing ring, a weight room and wrestling mats for children to practice their specific sport of choice.<br /> <br /> "It's an ongoing project," Barnett said. "One of the first things they asked for, as far as community projects, was to get this pool re-established so the kids didn't have to swim in the river."<br /> <br /> Temperatures in Iraq historically surpass 130 degrees during the unrelenting summer. For the Soldiers who patrol these streets in northern Baghdad, the pool is a welcome sight to help the people they're here to protect.<br /> <br /> "This is a good example of what cooperation with the local government officials, the Iraqi army, with the coalition forces – what we can all do together to improve the quality of life here," Barnett said.<br /> <br /> "Every time a Soldier walks by on a patrol here, he's going to say 'Hey, you know, we helped facilitate that. We helped make a difference.'"<br />