In addition to helping rebuild Iraq, the 155th Brigade Combat Team has also unearthed piles of weapons since the unit deployed in January.
Maj. Danny Blanton, a spokesman for the 155th, says the soldiers have completed six brigade-level operations, 19 battalion-level operations, 21 raids and 304 cordon and search operations. He says the unit has seized more than 15,000 weapons.
But Blanton tells the Associated Press that some of the most rewarding missions are those that reach out to the Iraqi people.
The 155th is made up of about 3500 Mississippi National Guard soldiers and other troops from across the country.
The unit's commander, Brig. Gen. Augustus Leon Collins, has initiated an adopt-a-school program and hopes to develop a pen pal program for American and Iraqi children.
In the Karbala Province, the soldiers teamed with Iraqi security forces to rebuild an orphanage and delivered 50 beds and mattresses, bed linens, clothes and toys.
Collins says the humanitarian efforts are imperative because, "the future of this nation lies in its youth."
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