Photo Information

Local children gather outside their classroom to greet Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) as the Marines visit the school to perform an inspection of the progress of the school’s improvements. The children were attending math class in a freshly painted, air-conditioned classroom before the Marines arrived today.

Photo by Sgt. Lukas Atwell

3rd MAW helps local village restore schoolhouse

9 Jun 2008 | Sgt. Lukas Atwell 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) recently assisted in the reconstruction of a local school. 

The project benefits the community and their children by providing essential electrical power, school supplies and also a clean drinking-water supply.

“Regimental Combat Team 2 identified the need for improvements in the area nearly a year ago,” said Maj. Kevin Bright, the operations officer of Marine Wing Support Group 37. “The resources were not available at the time, but now that we have them, we are making good on our promise to help this community.”

The resources came in the form of funds provided by the commander’s emergency response program, which allows urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction assistance to make a positive impact in the area. The construction of the school marks the first significant use of CERP funds by 3rd MAW (Fwd) and is part of a continuing effort to restore normalcy to the area, Bright said.

The CERP funds provide the budget for the contractor and the materials needed to hire local workers to begin improving their school, according to Bright.

Once the project began, command representatives supervised the progress of the schoolhouse throughout the month-long reconstruction effort.

“As the project purchasing officer, I visit the sites to make sure that progress is being made on time with the right materials,” explained Maj. Michael Mori. “As deadlines for the project were met, it was my job to make the appropriate payments to the contractor for the next stage of restorations.”

The logistics behind the project took a coordinated effort between Marine Wing Support Group 37 and Marine Wing Support Squadrons 172 and 274, said Sgt. Amanda Sagebiel, the assistant coordinator for the project.

“I am extremely pleased to see the improvements made at the school,” said Warrant Officer Emile Peterson, a security forces platoon commander for MWSS-274. “The renovations gave the villagers hope and my Marines were proud to be a part of the project because they got a chance to see the positive effect that we are having in the region.”

The schoolhouse has potential to be more than just a place for education according to Bright. The school will also bring the community together. A room in that school may become a town hall and another may become the village clinic.   

“I look forward to working on more projects like this,” added Sagebiel, a Houston native. “I think this is a step in the right direction toward restoring peace in the area.”