January 14, 2005

Engineers deliver schools supplies to Iraqi children


Capt. Chris Doss of the 276th Engineer Battalion holds up a sign thanking Short Pump Elementary School for their donation of school supplies for school children in Iraq. ( Photo courtesy 276th Engineers )

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Army Guard Public Affairs Officer

Soldiers from the 276th Engineers Battalion took time out from their missions in Iraq on Jan. 9 to deliver school supplies to Iraqi children at Tal Afar just west of Mosul.

The majority of the schools supplies came from Short Pump Elementary School, and the project get started by on of the daughters of unit member Capt. Chris Doss. “My oldest daughter, Courtney, thought of the idea earlier in the deployment,” Doss said. “She took it to her 2nd grade teacher, and they ended up turning it into a school-wide project run by the Student Council.”

Doss said the supplies made it to Iraq in late May 2004, but operational requirements and security concerns made the delivery a challenge. “I had tried several times to get them out to a school,” he said, “but every time I would get a mission scheduled it would get cancelled due to hostile activities or an upcoming offensive. So, it is good to finally complete the mission!”

The 276th Soldiers visited an all-male middle school and an all-girls primary school. Doss said he was impressed by how well behaved and polite the students were. One girl in particular was standing away from the crowd during the delivery of the supplies just watching the activity, and Doss delivered a box of supplies right to her. “Once she knew what it was, she didn’t let it out of her sight,” he said.

On the trip back from Tal Afar, an improvised explosive device exploded on the convoy of vehicles. “There was some vehicle damage,” Doss said, “but luckily no Soldiers were injured. All in a day's work over here.”

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