Civil affairs Marines turn attention to improving local schoolhouse

Regimental Combat Team 3
Story by Cpl. John McCall

Date: 10.16.2009
Posted: 10.16.2009 10:32
News ID: 40217
Civil Affairs Marines Turn Attention to Improving Local Schoolhouse

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Civil Affairs Marines with Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 3, visited a local school here, Oct. 8, to talk with teachers about refurbishing their schoolhouse.<br /> <br /> "We've been there a few times before, asking for the school to be opened," said Sgt. Scott Spaulding, 25, a civil affairs specialist from Annapolis, Md. "This was actually the first time that we saw students being taught there."<br /> <br /> According to what locals have told Marines, three to four years ago a group of Taliban militants set off a bomb inside the school to keep children from attending. The explosion caused some structural damage. Windows were blown out and doors broken.<br /> <br /> Since the bombing, the school house was closed with no one to look after the building until only recently. <br /> <br /> "The whole school needs a lot of improvements. Only some of the classrooms are operational right now, and the well they have is broken," said Sgt. Christopher Velazquez, 23, a civil affairs team chief from Newark, Del. "We want to make it a fully functioning school."<br /> <br /> With this school as their current focus, the civil affairs Marines hope to have more projects like this one in the future.<br /> <br /> "Even though the project is moving slowly, I think it is better that way because it gives us a chance to make sure that things are being done right," Spaulding said. "I think we are making a difference, but it is going to take time for things to really change."<br />