DABUNI, Iraq — Soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, United States Division – Center, brought 150 assorted soccer uniforms, several sports bags, and soccer balls to the opening of Dabouni Elementary School, Sept. 16. The funds to build the school were provided by the Provincial Reconstruction Team, and Lt. Col. Cameron Cantlon, 6th Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. commander, 3rd AAB, USD-C, and an Ettrick, Wis. native, came to see the finished product and watch the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The school is composed of five small buildings, containing two classrooms, and another building for administration. All the classrooms were given to the Iraqis by the Provincial Reconstruction Team. The Iraqis transported the classrooms to Dabuni with air conditioners, light fixtures, and stairs included. In the past, the children of this town had to travel a long distance to get to school and cross over a major two-lane road, and many have been injured or killed trying to cross this road. The new school aims to prevent future harm to children trying to cross the road, making this a life saving effort.
In addition to watching the opening of the school, soldiers with the squadron provided assorted sets of soccer jerseys and uniforms for the children and young adults. The uniforms were donated by individual soccer teams in the United States. Each set was prepared so the community could organize their own soccer teams and play against each other.
“The United States has done a good thing here. This is a wonderful gift to our town, and we owe a debt of gratitude,” said Ghadanfar Kadim Ubayd, a Dabuni Provincial Council Member and the community organizer for the school.
Dabuni, Iraq is a small town north of Numaniyah. The town is made up of businessmen and merchants, and the majority of the people are well educated. The adults as well as the children were excited to see the new school and to see the soldiers. Many people in the town speak English and used this opportunity to practice with the U.S. soldiers.
“(The) squadron focuses on force protection and security operations with our Iraqi military and police partners; however, it is enjoyable to take time for these final projects supporting Iraqi people, especially the school age kids,” said Cantlon.