Approximately 30 students from Nasiriyah’s Mama Suna Primary School arrived at GRS headquarters beaming with huge smiles. The children held flowers, which they presented to the Americans who greeted them. The children sang songs in English and Arabic, and also recited their A-B-Cs.
The gifts were all items Maj. Robert Kirkpatrick’s friends and co-workers back in Illinois shipped over for the children here. Kirkpatrick, a member of the 416th Theater Engineer Command, headquartered in Darien, Ill., explained that he’d received numerous e-mails from home asking what he needed. He suggested sending toys that could be delivered to neighboring schools during visits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees.
Kirkpatrick is the operations officer at GRS. The district is overseeing more than 130 construction projects in Iraq’s nine southern provinces. The projects include new schools, hospitals, courthouses, roads, bridges and new water treatment facilities that in some cases are providing communities with access to clean water for the first time ever.
“Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a great assignment. We have an important mission,” Kirkpatrick explained. “Things are improving here and you can see that the Iraqis are on the right path. It’s encouraging.
“I’ve had great support from my family, friends, and co-workers in Illinois since deploying in November,” Kirkpatrick continued. “Through phone calls, emails, and letters we’re able to stay in touch. They’ve all stepped up and are helping fill in for me stateside so I can concentrate on my duties here. I sincerely appreciate all they do.”