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January 4, 2016

Today’s Task Force Al Asad

By Gunnery Sgt. Christine Polvorosa | I Marine Expeditionary Force | January 4, 2016

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- At the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Al Asad was the second largest U.S. air base in Iraq, and home to thousands of deployed coalition personnel from II Marine Expeditionary Force/Multi-National Force West and other major tenant commands.

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December 9, 2015

US Navy corpsmen, Marines contribute to life-saving efforts in Iraq

By Courtesy Story | I Marine Expeditionary Force | December 9, 2015

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq -- As the battle for Ramadi and Fallujah continues near Al Taqaddum, Iraq, members of the Iraqi armed forces conduct counterattack missions as part of the efforts to regain control over the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-occupied cities.

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August 21, 2015

General Reports Progress in Inherent Resolve Operations

By Cheryl PellerinDoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, August 21, 2015 — The Iraq Security Forces are making daily progress in Ramadi during a difficult counterattack against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the chief of staff of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said today.

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August 12, 2015

Sculptor unveils likeness of first Marine EOD technician killed in Iraq War

By Kelly Humphrey
Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach
Published: August 12, 2015

EGLIN AFB (Tribune News Service) — According to his widow, Niceville resident Sara Clark, Gunnery Sgt. Michael Clark was a low-key, easy going Marine who didn't like a lot of fuss made over him. On Friday, however, Clark's family and friends gathered at the EOD Memorial Wall to remember him in a unique way.

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August 4, 2015

Coalition trains Iraqi security forces to defeat ISIL

Story by Cpl Jonathan Boynes
Date Taken:07.27.2015 | Date Posted:08.04.2015 06:52

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq – With the ever-present threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, having a strong and capable fighting force to defeat them is a priority. The Iraqi army’s 7th Division, with the help of Combined Joint Task Force—Operation Inherent Resolve’s multination coalition forces, are at the forefront of that fight.

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July 16, 2015

Marines at Al Taqaddum advise Iraqis behind Ramadi takeback effort

By Hope Hodge Seck, Staff writer 5:12 p.m. EDT July 16, 2015

The recent fall of Ramadi to marauding terrorists was a shocking setback to U.S. efforts to turn security over to Iraqi forces and it was a psychic blow to Marines who successfully fought to stabilize the notoriously violent Anbar province. But not quite two months later, Marine leaders on the ground say the momentum is rapidly shifting as better trained and newly inspired Iraqis are being sent back into the fight.

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March 6, 2015

5th Fleet mission has USS New York showing off its ‘amphibiosity’

By Hendrick Simoes
Stars and Stripes
Published: March 6, 2015

ABOARD THE USS NEW YORK IN THE PERSIAN GULF — “The only solid plan was yesterday’s plan.”

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February 6, 2015

Images: Operation Inherent Resolve [Image 8 of 18]

Photos by LCpl Skyler Treverrow
Date Taken:01.22.2015 | Date Posted:02.06.2015 09:18

Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, Task Force Al Asad, in support of an Operation Inherent Resolve Build Partnership Capacity mission, Jan. 22, 2015. The Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen participating in the BPC mission work closely with Iraqi Security Forces to build military capability and capacity through training in small-unit tactics, sustainment improvement, and air-ground integration.

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January 28, 2015

Paving the Way: TF Al Asad Trains Iraqi Army in CIED Drills

Story by Cpl Carson Gramley
Date Taken:01.18.2015 | Date Posted:01.28.2015 10:18

U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND - U.S. Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, Task Force Al Asad, facilitated a Counter Improvised Explosive Device class for members of the Iraqi Army to teach them basic IED reaction and mitigation skills at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Jan. 18, 2015.

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January 18, 2015

Marine Prowlers fight Islamic State over Iraq, Syria

Joshua Stewart, Staff Writer
January 18, 2015

They're old, gray and approaching retirement — but the Marine Corps' EA-6B Prowlers are still fighting terrorists. The service's aging fleet of jets used for electronic warfare have flown hundreds of hours over Iraq and Syria in support of the fight against the Islamic State group. They may be some of the final combat missions for Prowler squadrons before the Corps starts to retire the aircraft and adds electronic warfare capabilities to a variety of platforms.

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December 1, 2014

FBI warns military of ISIS threat

By Pamela Brown and Jim Sciutto, CNN
Updated 8:30 PM ET, Mon December 1, 2014

The FBI issued a warning Sunday to members of the U.S. military that ISIS is calling for attacks against them, according to a law enforcement source, saying that "overseas based individuals are looking for like-minded individuals in the U.S. to carry out these attacks."

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Iraq's army weakened from within by 50,000 'ghost' soldiers

By Yousuf Basil and Ben Brumfield, CNN
Updated 11:07 AM ET, Mon December 1, 2014

In its fight against Islamist terror militia ISIS, the Iraqi army may be weakened from within by corrupt soldiers not showing for duty -- 50,000 of them. Maybe more.

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November 6, 2014

Mother of fallen Marine creates full-length ballet tribute to his life

By Hope Hodge Seck, Staff writer 1:58 p.m. EST November 6, 2014

When theatergoers attend a performance of the ballet "Colin" at Virginia's Hylton Performing Arts Center this weekend, among the first performers they'll see are two real active-duty Marines, clad in their dress blue uniforms.

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October 28, 2014

Sailors and Marines Visit Jordanian Mosque During COMREL

Story Number: NNS141028-08Release Date: 10/28/2014 2:28:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon M. Smith, USS Mesa Verde Public Affairs

U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (NNS) -- Twenty-three USS Mesa Verde Sailors and Marines toured the Al-Sharif Al-Hussein bin Ali Mosque as part of a community relations project (COMREL) in Aqaba, Jordan, Aug. 25.

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September 29, 2014

New US Marine Corps Crisis Unit To Be Based in Kuwai

Sep. 29, 2014 - 03:45AM |
By JOE GOULD and PAUL McLEARY

QUANTICO, VA. — The US Marine Corps is preparing to deploy about 2,100 grunts to be based out of Kuwait in a new unit configuration designed to respond to crises in the region, according to Corps officials.

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August 10, 2014

More than 100 aircraft, 8 ships ready for Iraq air campaign

Story by Jeff Schogol
Aug. 8, 2014 - 07:11PM

The U.S. has a massive force of ships and aircraft in the Persian Gulf for the air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq.

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May 13, 2013

Generation at War

Story by Sgt. Bobby Yarbrough | Regional Command Southwest | Date: 05.13.2013

EDITOR'S NOTE: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq influenced most Marines before they could even comprehend it. Many of them are the progeny of conflict and survival, inflicted with the physical and psychological wounds of war. The realities of combat controlled and directed their growth, combining aptitude, instinct, and courage equally. As the war in Afghanistan comes to an end, Marine leaders reflect on their service over the last decade and how combat has shaped them as leaders and as men. This is part one of a three part series.

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - The violence in Iraq was reaching its pinnacle in 2004 when Chris Taylor received his deployment orders to Al-Anbar province. Marines had just bloodied their way through the first Battle of Fallujah and insurgency within the country was beginning to expand as sectarian clashes divided the nation.

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April 1, 2013

Iraq war vets wait for ally's Commitment Medal

By Kent Miller, Staff writer
Apr. 1, 2013 - 07:09PM

It's been nearly two years since the Iraqi government signaled its desire to present U.S. troops with a military decoration recognizing their dedication during nine years of war, hardship and sacrifice, but to date just one Iraq Commitment Medal has been delivered — and it was not given to a service member.

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March 26, 2013

Remembering the Fallen: the battle of An Nasiriyah

Story by Cpl. Jeff Drew | 2nd Marine Division | Date: 03.26.2013

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – As the country reflects on the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the ground war in Iraq, one battle stands alone.

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March 19, 2013

Better care meant more warriors survived wounds

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Mar 19, 2013 14:30:36 EDT

Over the course of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 3,542 troops were killed and 32,221 were wounded in combat action, according to Defense Department data.

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Iraq’s after-effects

Conflict redefined warfare, altered U.S.’s global role

By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Mar 19, 2013 14:30:52 EDT

Every major war carries with it many kinds of costs — in lives, limbs and dollars, to name a few.

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March 12, 2013

A new ‘greatest generation’

Iraq heroes emerge, determined to share stories of the fallen

By Michelle Tan - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Mar 12, 2013 10:53:54 EDT

The Iraq War gave birth to a new generation of American heroes who battled a long and bloody insurgency and pulled that nation back from the brink of civil war.

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March 4, 2013

Counting on speed

U.S. took Baghdad quickly but lost hearts, minds with lack of planning

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 4, 2013 11:43:52 EST

Before the fall of Baghdad, the explosion in sectarian violence in Iraq's cities and the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein, uncertainty reigned supreme for the tens of thousands of U.S. troops waiting for war in Kuwait's desert.

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10 years on

Early missteps in Iraq War led to new ideas on how to define, defeat enemy

By Jeff Schogol - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 4, 2013 10:22:06 EST

In the moonless dark of the Kuwaiti desert, U.S. Army troops cut eight lanes through sand-hill berms built along the Iraq border.

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April 6, 2012

To Ramadi and back

Story by Cpl. Johnny Merkley | Regimental Combat Team-5, 1st Marine Division | Date: 04.06.2012

TREK NAWA, Afghanistan — The men and women who have earned the title of Marine share a unique history and tradition only found in the Corps. In some cases, this history and tradition is shared by generations of Marines from the same family.

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March 16, 2012

Insurgents Destroyed US Helicopters Found in Online Photos

InnovationNewsDaily Staff | March 16, 2012

When new U.S. Army attack helicopters landed at an Iraqi base in 2007, soldiers uploaded smartphone photos of the helicopters to the Internet. The soldiers didn’t realize that those pictures contained GPS "geotags," which according to an Army officer allowed insurgents to pinpoint and destroy four Apache helicopters in a mortar attack.

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October 16, 2011

Pendleton unit is last Marine team to leave Iraq

By MARK WALKER mlwalker@nctimes.com | Posted: Sunday, October 16, 2011 6:00 pm

A team of 13 Camp Pendleton Marines made history Friday as the last Marine Corps unit to leave Iraq.

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September 6, 2011

Wounded in Iraq: A Marine's Story

Five years after a gunshot changed his life, the author reflects on what a decade of war has cost Americans

By Justin Constantine
Sep 6 2011

I cry whenever I think of a memorial service I attended in Iraq. From the back of the hot, packed room next to the chaplain's office, I looked down the center aisle and saw six sets of boots, rifles, helmets, and dog tags. Six Americans had lost their lives defending their country. I had seen these Marines hug each other before heading out on patrol -- real hugs, as if they guessed they might not see each other again. They had been in Iraq for a while and knew how dangerous every mission was.

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January 10, 2011

The Toppling

How the media inflated a minor moment in a long war.

by Peter Maass
January 10, 2011

On April 9, 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Bryan McCoy, commander of the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, awoke at a military base captured from the Iraqis a few miles from the center of Baghdad, which was still held by the enemy. It had been twenty days since the invasion of Iraq began, and McCoy had some personal chores to take care of—washing his socks, for one. Afterward, he walked over to a group of marines under his command who were defacing a mural of Saddam Hussein. As I watched, he picked up a sledgehammer and struck a few blows himself. The men cheered. Then he began preparing for the serious business of the day: leading the battalion into the heart of the city. He expected a house-to-house brawl that would last several days.

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August 27, 2010

Amid Drawdown, Lessons to Be Learned from Iraq

Despite Inherent Differences, U.S. Can Apply Lessons Learned in Iraq to Afghanistan

BAGHDAD, Aug. 27, 2010

(AP) They are different wars in different regions, with different challenges. But as the war in Iraq winds down, there is a lot the U.S. military can learn and apply to Afghanistan, from how to deal with contractors to when to draw down troops.

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August 3, 2010

Suicide bombers attack southern Afghan base

KABUL, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Insurgents, some wearing suicide vests, launched a rocket and ground attack on the main foreign military base in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar on Tuesday, with several militants killed in an ensuing gunfight, officials said.

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August 2, 2010

UN panel finishes Taliban/al Qaeda blacklist review

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2 (Reuters) - A Security Council committee has deleted 45 entries from its blacklist of al Qaeda and Taliban individuals and firms under U.N. sanctions after a full review, Austria's U.N. envoy said on Monday.

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July 30, 2010

Afghan police fire shots to quell protest after accident

KABUL, July 30 (Reuters) - Afghan police fired shots on Friday to disperse hundreds of people protesting the deaths of civilians in an accident involving a U.S. embassy vehicle, police said.

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April 8, 2010

Karzai's words are heightening his unpopularity

You might think Hamid Karzai's biggest problem right now is his mouth.

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April 5, 2010

Afghan-International Force Kills, Detains Militants in Nangarhar

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan-international security force went to a compound north of Khozakheyl, in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar province, after intelligence information verified militant activity last night. As the combined force entered the compound area they were fired upon by heavily armed men. In the ensuing firefight two militants were shot and killed.

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February 21, 2010

Drone pilots have a front-row seat on war, from half a world away

In a low, tan building in Nevada, Air Force personnel sit in padded chairs and control aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan. They are 7,500 miles away, yet feel more affected by war than ever.

Reporting from Creech Air Force Base, Nev. - From his apartment in Las Vegas, Sam Nelson drove to work through the desert along wind-whipped Highway 95 toward Indian Springs. Along the way, he tuned in to XM radio and tried to put aside the distractions of daily life -- bills, rent, laundry -- and get ready for work.

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February 8, 2010

Marines quietly wrap up ops in Iraq

By James K. Sanborn - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Feb 8, 2010 8:31:29 EST

By mid-February, Marines will be out of Iraq.

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January 21, 2010

St. Louis Based Marines Among The Last to Leave Iraq

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com) - Some 500 Marines from the St. Louis area are going to be part of a special place in history. They are among the last combat battalion of Marines to leave Iraq. The marines are part of the 3rd Battalion, 24th regiment based at Lambert. They should all be back in the U.S. by the end of January. It's a major step in the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq; a step that many spouses of the marines can't wait to happen.

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January 18, 2010

Marines exit Iraq in first wave of forces out

By Lara Jakes - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Jan 18, 2010 5:26:10 EST

AL-ASAD, Iraq — The base loudspeaker no longer wakes them up with calls for blood donors; armored trucks sit idle in neat rows. The Marines who stood at some of the bloodiest turning points of the Iraq war are packing up and leaving.

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January 7, 2010

Overseas military will have to register again to get ballots this year

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes online edition, Thursday, January 7, 201

WASHINGTON — Military members serving overseas will have to resubmit their voter registration this year if they hope to cast a ballot in the November midterm elections.

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December 20, 2009

Last grunts in Iraq prepare to come home

By Trista Talton - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Dec 20, 2009 11:08:43 EST

The last Marine infantry battalion will leave Iraq in January, closing a long, complicated chapter in the Corps’ history as combat intensifies on another front in Afghanistan.

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December 17, 2009

From group to regiment, regiment to battalion: Marines continue to drawdown in Iraq

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — Combat Logistics Battalion 46 officially took over for Combat Logistics Regiment 27 (Forward) as the logistics combat element during a Transfer of Authority ceremony aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 16.

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November 25, 2009

Legal Services Support Team Makes a Difference for Deployed Service Members

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq – After returning from a two-week mission in Iraq, a Marine makes a call to his wife, assuring her that he has returned safely. She is relieved, but panic creeks into her voice as she tells him that creditors have been calling their home asking about mortgage payments and threatening foreclosure. She anxiously asks her husband what went wrong and how to deal with it. The Marine is baffled, and he knows he needs legal assistance.

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November 23, 2009

Operation Blue Spoon underway aboard Al Asad

As the clouds and drizzle of the rainy winter season roll into Iraq, many Marines with Multi National Force - West are rolling out. The gradual drawdown of Marines aboard Al Asad Air Base has sparked the idea for Operation Blue Spoon.

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November 14, 2009

Celebration of 234 years brings deployed Marines together

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq — Marines from Combat Logistics Regiment 27 (Forward) woke up with the Iraqi sun aboard Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, knowing that the day, Nov. 10, marked 234 years of the Marine Corps’ existence.

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November 12, 2009

Marines welcome Iraqi Air Force

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq — The Iraqi Ministry of Defense directed that one detachment of helicopters from 4th Squadron, Iraqi Air Force, be located at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, in order to provide a rotary wing transportation capability to the Anbar Operations Command, a command center for all Iraqi security forces in Iraq’s Al Anbar province.

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October 31, 2009

Marines leaving Al Taqaddum little by little

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq — Marine Corps participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom is drawing to a close as Marines, sailors and equipment make their way back home or to other parts of the globe. As part of the departure, one of the Marine Corps’ largest bases in the country is on its way to being in the hands of the Iraqi government once again.

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October 30, 2009

Task Force East Marines close chapter on successful deployment

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — Since the earliest days of the Marine Corps, all Marines have been taught they are riflemen first. This philosophy shines true with the Marines of Task Force East, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward). As they depart Iraq, they do so knowing the basic training they received was the cornerstone for the experiences they shared here. With their deployment at its end, the Marines of TFE reflect on their overall experiences and lessons learned.

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October 1, 2009

Six-year legacy of Marine Corps regiments in Iraq followed by an Army brigade

CAMP RAMADI, Iraq —
Marines and soldiers stand ready in formation. Distinguished guests begin to filter in. Among them are prominent Iraqi government leaders, paramount sheikhs, Iraqi Police and Army generals, and U.S. military members from all services and units across Iraq. The air is thick with excitement, and more importantly, hope.

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September 23, 2009

Marine readies for 4th Iraq tour

Sgt. Doug Osborn, 27, has already earned a Purple Heart
MUNCIE -- A Purple Heart recipient from Delaware County has volunteered to return to Iraq for his fourth deployment there.

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Reserve LAR company prepares for return to U.S

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq - Lt. Col. Kenneth R. Kassner, the commanding officer of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, officially relieved the Marines of Company E of their duties during a ceremony held aboard Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, Sept. 16, 2009

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September 22, 2009

U.S. Troops Cleaning Out 'Garages' in Iraq

Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs
WASHINGTON - American forces are cleaning out a "very, very big garage" in its drawdown in Iraq, the deputy commander of Multi-National Corps - Iraq said, Sept. 22.

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September 20, 2009

An Interview With the Lion of Al Qaim

CAMP RAMADI, Iraq – As Regimental Combat Team 6 prepares to hand over military operations in Iraq's Al Anbar province after over five years of Marine Corps presence, to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division (Advise and Assist Brigade), we talked with the man once known to some Iraqis as the "Lion of Al Qaim," Marine commander, Col. Matthew Lopez.

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September 8, 2009

Saluting a 'last great adventure'

Oh, it was a good life. A cushy life. Clean and comfy, polished and primped.

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Marine's Award-winning Past Leads to His Significant Presence

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq - Prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps, every potential Marine sits down with a recruiter and picks out the reasons they want to join from a stack of colorful cards with the words travel, education and discipline, among others that describe most of the reasons someone would make the decision to commit.

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August 30, 2009

MarPat-like cammies show up on Iraqi troops

By Amy McCullough - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Aug 30, 2009 8:29:22 EDT

Every Marine has to earn his Eagle, Globe and Anchor, but that doesn’t stop copycats from taking the easy route.

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Marines of 2nd CEB show Iraqi soldiers new moves

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq —
As U.S. forces have begun their responsible drawdown from Iraq, and as combat operations continue to decrease, other types of missions have moved to the forefront. U.S. forces have made a continued effort to pass on their knowledge to the Iraqi Security Forces that will help to ensure security and stability once U.S. forces are completely gone.

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August 28, 2009

Sniper's Eye Counters Smuggling in Iraq

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq, - Marine Corps snipers and designated marksmen have been operating across the vast Iraqi deserts since the outbreak of hostilities in 2003.

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August 23, 2009

3rd Battalion, 9th Marines relieves 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq —
Third Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment relieved 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment during a certificate of relief ceremony Aug. 16, 2009.

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August 21, 2009

Comanche Marines conduct leadership training

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq — Marines from Company C, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, or “Comanche Company,” conducted leadership training on an abandoned farming compound north of Sahl Sinjar, Iraq, August 5, 2009.

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August 7, 2009

Deployed 'docs' show diligence in Iraq

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq —
Every Marine unit conducting missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom has one thing in common: dedicated hospital corpsmen always prepared to deal with illnesses and injuries, both great and small.

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July 24, 2009

Wolfpack sees OIF from start to finish

SAHL SINJAR AIRFIELD, Iraq —
From the Rumaylah oil fields in Operation Iraqi Freedom I to Operation Phantom Fury during the retaking of Fallujah to patrolling the western border of Iraq, and now providing security and training for the 11th Iraqi Army Brigade, the Wolfpack Marines have fought our country’s battles in light armored vehicles.

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July 23, 2009

Marines one step closer to successful drawdown

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq —
The population of U.S. forces in Iraq is becoming less dispersed throughout the country as Marines and sailors from Combat Logistics Battalion 4 and Combat Logistics Battalion 7, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), are packing up and heading out of Camp Baharia and Combat Outpost Rahwah, two bases in Iraq’s Al Anbar province that have been home to Marines since early 2004 and 2005, respectively.

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July 6, 2009

COP Hit transfers, ISF take control

Children walk the streets safely, store fronts are filled with patrons buying goods and the Iraqi Security Forces are seen throughout the Al Anbar province keeping the Iraqi people safe from insurgents and terrorist activity.
With each passing month, the Iraqi army and police have proved more and more they can protect their citizens with less and less coalition help.

Continue reading "COP Hit transfers, ISF take control" »

July 5, 2009

Tourism industry thriving in Iraq

By Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, July 5, 2009

NAJAF, Iraq — It may be hard for Westerners to believe, but one industry that’s booming, despite the global recession, is Iraqi tourism

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June 28, 2009

U.S., Iraqi experts developing plan to preserve Babylon, build local tourism industry

Story and photos by Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, June 28, 2009

HILLAH, Iraq — The remains of what was once the greatest city in the world occupy a vast site on the bank of the Euphrates River.

Continue reading "U.S., Iraqi experts developing plan to preserve Babylon, build local tourism industry" »

June 9, 2009

8th Communications Battalion zeros in on combat marksmanship

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq —
United States Marines pride themselves on being America’s force-in-readiness. At any given time, Marines are prepared to deploy anywhere in the world to defend America and respond to crises. Even while deployed, they still find ways to continue their combat training in order to maintain their reputation of always being mission-ready.

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June 8, 2009

Marine in Iraq gets hitched over the Internet

By Clare Kennedy - Owatonna People’s Press via AP
Posted : Monday Jun 8, 2009 6:40:52 EDT

OWATONNA, Minn. — On the morning of her wedding day, Breana Michel stood next to her pastor Rev. Jay Grave. The groom was nowhere to be found in the small house on 15th Street Southeast.

Continue reading "Marine in Iraq gets hitched over the Internet" »

June 7, 2009

Out of the office and onto the roads of Al Anbar: Security Company protects their own

CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq — As the last rays of sunlight duck behind the security barriers aboard Camp Baharia, Iraq, a chorus can be heard. It is not the crickets emerging to greet the night —it’s the Marines of Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), gearing up to provide security for a convoy.

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June 2, 2009

Another Longest Day

It is January in Iraq, the evening temperature has dropped below freezing and we’re on another mission, rolling down the highway. I’ve geared up with layers of undergarments for warmth and outerwear for protection: fire-resistant Nomex to keep my skin from turning crispy in flames and body armor to keep the pointy stuff from poking holes in my body. Anyone who rides motorcycles, as I do, knows the value of good protective gear. But I don’t focus on it.

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May 27, 2009

Iraqi commandos show off their combat skills for MNF-W commanding general

CAMP YASSIR, Iraq – With flags waving high and feet pounding the ground in a steady rhythm, soldiers with Commando Battalion, 7th Iraqi Army Division, showed off their military talents during a demonstration aboard Al Asad Air Base, May 23, 2009.

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May 9, 2009

Marines deploy to Iraq

KSDK -- Dozens of marines from across the Midwest, including the St. Louis area, have been called to duty.

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RCT-8 supports EPRT organize western Al Anbar Civic Leaders Conference

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq —
Western Al Anbar was considered ‘the wild west’ at the beginning of the insurgency in 2004. It wasn’t until after the Anbar awakening in 2006 that the area began to move forward democratically. Now civic leaders and politicians have assembled together to discuss better ways to reallocate provincial funding.

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RCT-8 supports EPRT organize western Al Anbar Civic Leaders Conference

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq —
Western Al Anbar was considered ‘the wild west’ at the beginning of the insurgency in 2004. It wasn’t until after the Anbar awakening in 2006 that the area began to move forward democratically. Now civic leaders and politicians have assembled together to discuss better ways to reallocate provincial funding.

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May 1, 2009

Female Marine serves as gunner, Lioness in Iraq

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq — A city girl from coastal California shocked her relatives and friends when she became the first in her family to join the Marine Corps in 2005.

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April 24, 2009

Removing unnecessary gear from Iraq: a crucial step in a responsible drawdown

CAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq — Even before Feb. 17, when President Barack Obama announced his strategy for Iraq, the operational tempo for Marines and sailors within the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) in Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, was high.

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April 14, 2009

Wolfpack takes control of Ninewa Province from Highlanders

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq —
First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8, relinquished its operational responsibilities in Iraq’s Ninewa province, Iraq to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, April 7, 2009. Operating from a remote airfield near the Sinjar Mountains, the Marines of 1st LAR Bn. spent the majority of their seven-month deployment interdicting smuggling and conducting reconnaissance in the open desert terrain.

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April 9, 2009

Safety team: Iraq site wiring deemed risky

By Kimberly Hefling - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Apr 9, 2009 14:39:14 EDT

WASHINGTON — A military team sent to evaluate electrical problems at U.S. facilities in Iraq determined there was a high risk that flawed wiring could cause further “catastrophic results” — namely, the electrocutions of U.S. soldiers.

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April 6, 2009

150 Kaneohe Marines leave for Iraq

Soldiers hope to build on existing peace

Kaneohe Marines who have deployed more than once to Iraq say the country is now far more peaceful and amenable to community building projects.

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March 13, 2009

Lioness Program ‘pride’ of the Corps

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — When the focus of military operations in Iraq shifted from direct combat actions to stabilization and peacekeeping missions, Marines in combat units manning tactical control points throughout the country began using search and seizure methods to capture insurgents trying to smuggle weapons and other contraband through the checkpoints.

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Tank Marines take responsibilities as quick reaction force

Dateline
CAMP RIPPER, Iraq —
Page Content
“First to fight” is a phrase that often comes to mind when referring to the Marine Corps. Not only is being the first to engage the enemy very important, but reacting quickly to a call for assistance or help is imperative.

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March 11, 2009

Coalition forces focus on helping victims of war

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq —
When Lt. Cmdr. Kobena Arthur arrived in Iraq for the first time in September 2008, he pledged to make an impact in the far reaches of the western Al Anbar desert.

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March 10, 2009

Marines shipping extra gear back home

By Ashley Rowland, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CAMP EAGLE, Iraq — Which costs more: Buying a box full of toothbrushes or mailing it halfway around the world?

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March 6, 2009

CH-53s from 13th MEU fly support in Iraq

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Mar 6, 2009 19:10:18 EST

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Marines with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s detachment of CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters left their ship at sea earlier this week and are flying combat support missions in Iraq.

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February 28, 2009

Leaving Iraq: Shift south, exit through desert

By Chelsea J. Carter - The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Feb 28, 2009 15:01:50 EST

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military map in Iraq in early 2010: Marines are leaving the western desert, Army units are in the former British zone in the south and the overall mission is coalescing around air and logistics hubs in central and northern Iraq.

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February 27, 2009

CAG Marines learn conversational Arabic

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq – The famous poet Khalil Gibran once stated in Sand and Foam, “We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words.” Arabic and English are equally comprised of thousands of words, and Marines here have found each of the words as equally important to their linguistic counterparts.

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Navy Surgeon leaves family practice for front lines

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq —
In a combat environment it is not uncommon to see Navy corpsmen. These servicemembers often times sacrifice their personal safety to ensure Marines receive proper medical treatment in order to remain combat effective. For some corpsmen, the sacrifice is deeper than most people know.

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February 22, 2009

CLB-2 makes long haul to remote location of Iraq

SAHL SINJAR AIRFIELD, Iraq — The sun had barely peaked over the horizon as a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, affectionately known as the Battle Wagon, and more than 30 other vehicles carrying Marines, civilian contractors, and one interpreter, rolled out of Al Asad early Sunday morning, Feb. 8, 2009.

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February 14, 2009

Reconnaissance Marines harden Iraqi Special Forces

CAMP RAMADI, Iraq – With Iraqi training and partnered operations taking priority in Iraq, Force Reconnaissance Marines have taken it to the next level, incorporating specialforces training with an elite group of Iraqi soldiers during a 10-day training exercise that started here, Feb. 7.

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February 4, 2009

Reservists help reconstruct a nation, one line at a time

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq —
For the past five months, the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment have been conducting operations in the Iraq’s Rutbah district, which covers nearly 4,000 square miles of open desert terrain interspersed with towns, villages and nomadic-shepherd communities in Iraq’s western Al Anbar province.

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January 28, 2009

Twin brothers meet by chance in Iraqi desert

What are the odds?

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January 25, 2009

Brothers meet up during deployment to Iraq

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq —
While deployed, Marines often depend on phone calls and e-mails to keep in contact with their families. Some Marines however, can find themselves separated from a loved one by just a few miles.

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January 24, 2009

Reserve motor transportation Marines keep the mission rolling

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq —
When the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 8 arrived at al Asad Air Base in western Iraq in early September, they were faced with an immediate challenge: transportation.

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January 23, 2009

Regimental Combat Team 5 turns over with Regimental Combat Team 8

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq – Regimental Combat Team 8 relieved Regimental Combat Team 5 at a ceremony here today.

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Warpigs of 1st LAR hand off smuggling search in northern Iraq

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq – For the past75 days, the Marines and sailors of Company C, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion have been living and operating in the open areas near the Sinjar Mountains of northern Iraq to interdict smuggling on the Iraqi-Syrian border. After this extended period, the “Warpigs” recently turned over responsibility of the region to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division so that they may return to Sinjar Airfield for further missions.

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January 18, 2009

‘Semper Fit’ more than motto to RCT-8 Marines

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq —
Keeping in peak physical condition isn’t an exception but more like a rule for Marines and this mindset doesn’t change during deployment.

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RCT-8 Communication Marines: keeping it connected during the fight

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq -- Constant communication between leaders at all levels is important whether they are deep in the sands of Iraq, the mountainous regions of Afghanistan or the confines of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

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January 17, 2009

IP, Marineshelp change perceptions in rural al-Anbar province

COMBAT OUTPOST AKASHAT, Iraq —
Local Iraqi Police teamed up with Marines and sailors from Company G, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 8, Jan. 14 to give students something to look forward to after finishing their annual standardized tests at Akashat Primary School.

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January 16, 2009

1st LAR Bn. secures remote northern Iraq, impeding insurgents

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq – If they have fought in ‘every clime and place’ as the Marines’ Hymn recounts, maybe a verse should be added for clarity. What would it say? Perhaps something about ‘for however long it takes with minimal supplies…’

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January 9, 2009

RCT-8 moves forward to Al Asad, Iraq

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Marines and sailors of Regimental Combat Team 8 said goodbye to their loved ones here Jan. 6 as they departed for a scheduled one-year deployment to al Asad, Iraq.

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January 7, 2009

Marines of 1st LAR Bn. plant a seed for local economy

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq – Drop a stone into a pond. Its ripples reach far from where it entered. Marines of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion tested this philosophy here with an agriculture project, trading stones for barley seed and their pond for local villages of Northern Iraq.

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January 6, 2009

Iraqi police respond to Fallujah attack

FALLUJAH, Iraq – Iraqi Police in Karmah demonstrated their ability to take charge of a crime scene after a suicide bomber attacked citizens and policemen on a local highway in Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 28.

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Marines Raise Flag on New U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2009 – U.S. Marines raised the American flag yesterday during the dedication ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker declared “a new era” for Iraq and the Iraqi-U.S. relationship.

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January 5, 2009

New U.S. embassy inaugurated in Baghdad

By Chelsea J. Carter - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Jan 5, 2009 16:24:12 EST

BAGHDAD — The United States opened its new embassy in Iraq under tight security Monday, the most visible sign of what U.S. officials call a new chapter in relations between America and a more sovereign Iraq.

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December 29, 2008

IPs learn life-saving medical skills

FALLUJAH, Iraq – “He’s bleeding out of a major artery! He’s going into shock! Get his pulse and apply a tourniquet, now!”

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December 26, 2008

Battalion takes root in new area of operations

COMBAT OUTPOST RAWAH, Iraq — The expeditionary nature of the Marine Corps requires a responsive and capable force able to adapt to the ever-changing mission of the Global War on Terror and operations in Iraq.

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December 25, 2008

MNC-I commander makes holiday visit

FALLUJAH, Iraq – Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the commanding general of Multi-National Corps Iraq, visited Marines and Sailors with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, at Camp Baharia in Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 25.

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Taking care of your own, one package at a time

FALLUJAH, Iraq – The holiday season can pose a particularly hard time for some service members deployed overseas and away from their families.

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Anywhere, anytime

FALLUJAH, Iraq – Scout snipers with Teams 2 and 4 of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, have taken on a new role during their deployment to Iraq.

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December 21, 2008

Chaplain helps Marines stay Semper Fidelis

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq — Always faithful; a saying by which Marines and sailors of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion fight and one by which their chaplain shapes a deeper meaning, exemplifying a way to live a life.

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December 18, 2008

Barbecue a morale booster for Marines in Iraq

FALLUJAH, Iraq – There is nothing like a backyard barbecue to take your mind off the daily grind of fighting terrorism.

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Barbecue a morale booster for Marines in Iraq

FALLUJAH, Iraq – There is nothing like a backyard barbecue to take your mind off the daily grind of fighting terrorism.

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December 16, 2008

Marines support Iraqi police with aid operation

FALLUJAH, Iraq — Marines with Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 assisted Iraqi Police during a humanitarian-aid operation in the Muallimeen area of Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 3.

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December 15, 2008

Task Force Mech makes tracks through al-Anbar

AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq- Marines and sailors assigned to Task Force Mech, Regimental Combat team 5 are conducting various operations here to improve the securityand to assist the Iraqi people where needed.

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Tanks supply area with medical attention

AL-ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq — Amidst the array of Coalition force operations in the area, medical attention is still offered to the Iraqi populace by Task Force Mech, Regimental Combat Team 5.

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“Diablos” Take The Reins From 3rd Cavalry

NINEWEH PROVINCE, Iraq – Watch out Al-Qaeda, the Marines have just set up shop.

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December 12, 2008

Diablos test waters with patrol in unfriendly city

NINEWEH PROVINCE, Iraq – It wasn’t long after breakfast on Nov. 12 that Lance Cpl. Russell L. Pope was sitting in the cold in the back of a Light Armored Vehicle driving through a small town in western Nineveh province.

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December 9, 2008

Task Force Ninewa pounds ground into northern Iraq to take down Al Qaeda

SAHL SINJAR, Iraq – On ground that was little more than a strip of cement surrounded by desert, a veritable camp now stands, built and manned by Marines of Task Force Ninewa ready to hunt foreign fighters and terrorists near the Syrian border.

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December 5, 2008

CLB-5 hits the ground running: New move ensures success for Iraqis, CLB-5

Fallujah, Iraq — Just four years ago the streets of Fallujah were a hot zone for terrorist activity. Now that the area is stabilized, Coalition Forces are in the process of returning Camp Fallujah to the Iraqi government.

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December 4, 2008

Iraqi children receive an education

RUTBAH, Iraq — A patrol of Reserve Marines, soldiers and sailors, led by Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, showed their support for local schools and introduced children to the role that women serve in the U.S. armed forces when visiting the Houran Primary School in Rutbah, Iraq, Dec. 2.

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December 2, 2008

A Marine's spoken word

There is a peace surrounded by insurrection in Rhamadi, Iraq.

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November 29, 2008

Reserve Marines Host Distinguished Visitor

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — Reserve Marines from 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 based here received an honored guest at their remote desert outpost Nov. 26.

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November 27, 2008

Secretary of the Navy visits troops in Fallujah

Fallujah, Iraq — Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter visited Marines and other service members operating in Fallujah, Iraq, during the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

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November 22, 2008

Reserve Commander Adapts and Overcomes

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — When Lt. Col. Geoff Rollins took command of 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team in October 2006, he had a daunting task before him.

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Utility Marines light up Rutbah TCPs, gain knowledge

RUTBAH, Iraq — And then there was light.

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November 21, 2008

Marines, Iraqi Security Forces search for answers to Ferris attack

FERRIS, Iraq — A recent enemy attack at a hospital in Ferris, Iraq has Marines and Iraqi Security Forces searching the city for clues to find suspects linked to the incident.

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November 16, 2008

Marines Maintain Vigilance on Syrian Border

AL-ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq — Reserve Marines from Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 based here drove more than 200 miles Nov. 9 to conduct a security patrol and inspect construction of new Iraqi forts along the country’s border with Syria.

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Marines Maintain Vigilance on Syrian Border

AL-ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq — Reserve Marines from Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 based here drove more than 200 miles Nov. 9 to conduct a security patrol and inspect construction of new Iraqi forts along the country’s border with Syria.

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November 11, 2008

Skilled hands of maintenance Marines keep 1st LAR rolling

SINJAR AIRFIELD, Iraq -- (November 11, 2008) What does it take to keep a mechanized infantry battalion rolling? At more than 12 tons each, light armored vehicle sounds like a contradictory name, but there’s nothing light about the mission these Marines have.

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Marines celebrate birthday alongside Iraqi counterparts

CAMP RAMADI, Iraq (Nov. 11, 2008) — Founded in a small Philadelphia tavern on Nov. 10, 1775, by order of the Second Continental Congress, the Marine Corps’ history books were opened, and today, in Ramadi, Iraq, 2008, the pages are still being written.

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November 10, 2008

Marines uphold time-honored tradition

FALLUJAH, Iraq — Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, took a brief moment away from daily combat operations to celebrate the 233rd Marine Corps birthday at Camp Baharia in Fallujah, Iraq, Nov. 10.

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November 9, 2008

Community gets new IDs

FALLUJAH, Iraq — Marines with Company C, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, assisted by Iraqi Police, issued identification badges to civilians living in the Abuyuset area near Fallujah, Iraq, Nov. 8.

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November 3, 2008

Another tour in Iraq, another tearful goodbye for Marines

Marines and sailors are headed to Anbar province, but first, the pain of leaving family -- again.

Reporting from Camp Pendleton -- The drill was new to some of the families attached to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369. But it was a familiar and heartbreaking scene Sunday for most, who said goodbye yet again to hundreds of Marines deploying to Iraq for repeat tours.

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November 2, 2008

From personal trainer to Marine; Marine passes on knowledge

HIT, Iraq — All Marines are taught a skill at the beginning of their military careers that will help support the Marine Corps. Some Marines, though, bring their own skills.

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October 30, 2008

Field Mess Marines Keep Morale High

HIT, Iraq — While some Marines have trouble making an edible hot pocket for themselves at home, the chow hall Marines of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 have proven themselves qualified cooks, even in Iraq.

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October 27, 2008

Next year will be different for troops in Iraq

By Charles Levinson - USA Today
Posted : Monday Oct 27, 2008 6:39:27 EDT

BAGHDAD — When the clock strikes midnight Dec. 31, the U.S. military’s days of operating freely in Iraq will come to an abrupt end — regardless of whether a new long-term security agreement is in place, current and former military officials say.

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October 25, 2008

Hit MWR gets facelift, raises spirits

HIT, Iraq — Even during the fast tempo of a deployment, Marines do what they can to relax when they get down time.

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October 20, 2008

Reserve MP spices up life for Marines at remote outpost

COMBAT OUTPOST TREBIL, Iraq — When you step into the mess hall here, the first thing you notice is the smell of gourmet coffee. Next, you notice an orderly array of shelf-stable meals displayed in cubbies along the plywood walls, available to the post’s Marines 24-hours a day.

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October 19, 2008

Platoon puts wraps on security role

RAWAH, Iraq — Six months of security posts and sector patrols have come to an end here for Marines with 1st Platoon, Fox Company, 2nd Battlalion, 2nd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 5, who left their posts at Traffic Control Points 3 and 4 Oct. 12 when Provisional Rifle Platoon 3, RCT-5 assumed the watch.

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October 15, 2008

Another side of combat

FALLUJAH, Iraq – Most Marines agree taking care of the man on your left and right is the number one concern in combat.

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October 14, 2008

American Gladiators tour Iraq

RAWAH, Iraq — Combat Outpost Rawah, Iraq -- Atop the flatbed of a seven-ton truck and behind wooden pallets stacked as a barrier, gladiators took cover from incoming fire. They popped up to return suppressive fire, and the soccer ball onslaught continued for nearly an hour.

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American Gladiators bring fight to Marines

HIT, Iraq — The American Gladiators paid a visit to the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 to show their support and have some fun Oct. 8.
Titan, Militia, Panther, Phoenix and Venom, stars from the television show “American Gladiators,” traveled here to sign autographs and take pictures with the Marines.

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October 12, 2008

Supply gives Highlanders goods to keep tip of the spear sharp

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — It takes a lot of gear to run a battalion. Infantrymen need weapons and chow. Mechanics need parts and tools. Everyone needs something, and aside from haircuts, it all comes from one place: supply.

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October 5, 2008

Legendary Marine battalion completes Iraq deployment

RAMADI, IRAQ — RAMADI, IRAQ (October 5, 2008) – Just over seven months ago, service members with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, packed their bags and traveled halfway across the world to Iraq, marking the unit’s first battalion-sized deployment since its reactivation in late 2005.

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October 4, 2008

‘Trading Spaces’; Camp Lejeune units pass torch in Iraq

RAMADI, Iraq — RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 4, 2008) – With the dust settling on their seven-month deployment, Marines of 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team, 1 are handing over their area of operations in Ramadi, Iraq, to 2nd Bn., 9th Marines.

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October 3, 2008

1st LAR Bn. takes over mechanized security for al-Anbar province

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — Marines and sailors of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 finished movement here Sunday as they took the reins for mechanized security in al-Anbar province from 2nd LAR Bn., RCT-5.

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October 2, 2008

2/9 deploys in support of OIF

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. —
Marines and sailors from 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, deployed to Al Anbar province from Camp Lejeune, N.C., in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Sept. 23, 2008.

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September 25, 2008

Reserve Marines settle in at Korean Village

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — Reserve Marines from 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, headquartered in Garden City, N.Y., arrived here in late September to support RCT-5’s security and stability mission in western al-Anbar province.

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September 24, 2008

Decency, Toughness ... and No Shortcuts

The Iraq war has faded as an item of interest to the national press because the violence has plummeted, while a consensus has formed that the American military learned from experience and now knows what it’s doing. In 2006, we were losing the war; today, the military trajectory is encouraging, and U.S. forces are slowly withdrawing. During my 15th trip to Iraq in August, for the first time I didn’t hear a shot fired. In several cities, I walked into markets with only a few American soldiers, and was immediately surrounded by Iraqis eager to talk about the economy, security, politics, whatever.

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September 23, 2008

Dillow's Iraq: Marines aren't paid to be pacifists

Haditha, Iraq – Marines aren't paid to be pacifists. So perhaps it's not surprising that some Marines here are actually a little disappointed that the situation isn't more "kinetic" – that is, that they aren't seeing more action.

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September 17, 2008

3rd Bn., 7th Marines arrive in Iraq

HIT, Iraq — The Marines of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 assumed control of an area of operations previously held by 3rd Bn., 4th Marines and will continue to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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September 9, 2008

Bush Announces Iraq Troop Cut

FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, D.C., Sept. 9, 2008 – The United States will continue to reduce its troop strength in Iraq, but will increase its footprint in Afghanistan, President Bush said here today.

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Marines plan next moves after Anbar success

By Bryan Mitchell - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Sep 9, 2008 19:44:48 EDT

With the Corps’ mission in Iraq’s Anbar province all but stamped with the seal of success, Commandant Gen. James Conway is again positioning his service to take on a larger role in fighting a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, where about 3,500 Marines have fought throughout much of 2008.

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September 5, 2008

Bush to announce US troop levels in Iraq next week

WASHINGTON - President Bush will announce his decision on future troops levels in Iraq next week and is expected to largely follow the recommendations of military leaders to reduce the number by up to 8,000 by mid-January.

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September 4, 2008

An Act of Defiance

KARMAH, Iraq – In an act of defiance toward al-Qaida in Iraq, Karmah sheikhs and Marines with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, recently held their first meeting since a suicide vest attack killed 20 local leaders and key tribal figures and three Marines, June 26, 2008.

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August 27, 2008

Top U.S. Marine sees shift from Iraq to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. Marine officer said on Wednesday he could reduce his 25,000-strong force in the former al Qaeda stronghold of Iraq's Anbar province to reinforce military operations against a growing Taliban threat in Afghanistan.

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Fewer Marines needed in Iraq's western province

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Marine commandant said Wednesday that his forces in Iraq's once-volatile western Anbar province can be reduced, as the military moves to hand over control of the region to the Iraqis next week.

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Corps to hand over control of Anbar

By Bryan Mitchell - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Aug 27, 2008 15:52:57 EDT

After a summer of delays, the highly touted handover of security in the once-volatile Anbar province of Iraq is scheduled for next week, the top Marine in Iraq said Tuesday.

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3/7 departs for Iraq

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, departed the Combat Center Aug. 26 and 27 on a seven-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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3/7 departs for Iraq

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, departed the Combat Center Aug. 26 and 27 on a seven-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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August 21, 2008

Admin to Grunt: Battalion Commander’s eyes and ears

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq – A Marine underwent an immense transition from monitoring pay to becoming the eyes and ears of the battalion commander.

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August 18, 2008

Iraqi sheikh prepares Lejeune Marines for upcoming deployment

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. —
In the years since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, ordinary Iraqi citizens have stepped forward and taken an active role in charting their country’s future.

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II MEF likely to get better Anbar welcome

By Bryan Mitchell - bmitchell@militarytimes.com
Posted : August 18, 2008

For the third time in six years, II Marine Expeditionary Force will deploy to Iraq sometime in early 2009, but it will be a much different tour than the unit’s 2007 mission.

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August 16, 2008

Marines inch closer to a formal transfer of security control to Iraqis in Anbar

RAMADI, IRAQ -- As Iraqi officials and the U.S. military haggle over when to let Anbar province take control of its own security, a row of broken-down Ford pickups in a Ramadi schoolyard offers a sobering picture of the readiness of the region's security forces.

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August 14, 2008

Jump Platoon explores roads less traveled

CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq – The Warlords of Jump Platoon have the responsibility of escorting the battalion commander anywhere he needs to go around the Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 area of operations.

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August 11, 2008

Engineers, LAR’s plans may put H2O back in Rio Lobo

COMBAT OUTPOST RIO LOBO, Iraq – The most important natural resource for Coalition Forces in Iraq is water.

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Rockin’ at Korean Village

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — A quiet base in the western Al Anbar province was filled with sounds of electric guitars and the crash of cymbals July 10.

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August 10, 2008

Knowledge, skill, will: 1/2 Marines hit ground running

CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq — CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (August 10, 2008) – Since June 28, 2004, when the Coalition Provisional Authority officially transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government, Marines have done their part to assist the Iraqi people in building a unified Iraq with the political and economic stability needed to govern itself.

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August 9, 2008

Brothers stick together through all

COMBAT OUTPOST AKASHAT, Iraq — It’s common for Marines to refer to each other as brothers-in-arms, but the esprit de corps might just be stronger between two Marines who are actually full-blooded brothers serving in the same unit.

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August 5, 2008

Engineers increase battalion’s abilities

HIT, Iraq — Combat engineers have assisted 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, with bringing things down to the ground or raising things up from ground level.

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Marines target oil smuggling, protect citizens

UM AL WAZZ, Iraq – Western al-Anbar province was one of the most dangerous areas in Iraq in recent years, and Marine units operating there have encountered threats ranging from improvised explosive devices to small-arms firefights.

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August 2, 2008

Ramadi citizens gather for soccer field reopening

RAMADI, Iraq — RAMADI, Iraq (August 2, 2008) – Mustafa, a 14-year-old Iraqi boy, couldn’t stand still during a recent soccer tournament at the grand reopening of the 17th Street Soccer field July 24.

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August 1, 2008

K3 Oil Refinery opens

HADITHA, Iraq -- The K3 Oil Refinery opened July 18 and is ready to pump life into the city of Haditha and Anbar province, Iraq.

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Marine’s Arabic skills benefit operation

COMBAT OUTPOST AKASHAT, Iraq —
A Marine started several years ago to learn Arabic, a language spoken throughout the Middle East. Recognizing the value of the talent, he decided to put it to use helping his country.

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July 31, 2008

A boost to the economy

KARMA, Iraq – A large percentage of new businesses in the U.S. fail within the first year.Starting a business in Iraq is no different, if not harder, but with the help of Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, four Iraqi businessmen have hopes of beating the odds.

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July 26, 2008

Marines relax with sports

COMBAT OUTPOST AKASHAT, Iraq —
The stresses of a constant operational tempo give Marines the need for something to balance out the tension. Some Marines have found a way to relax by participating in outdoor sporting activities.

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July 9, 2008

Akashat police take control

AKASHAT, Iraq — Another Iraqi Police station became an independent unit in Al Anbar province during a ceremony here July 9. During the ceremony, Marines with Delta Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd LAR Bn., Regimental Combat Team 5 passed responsibility of the city of Akashat to the IPs.

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July 6, 2008

Hollywood arrives at Akashat

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — A company of Marines, in one of the most secluded combat outposts in Iraq, had an unusual visit by a special group of entertainers from Hollywood, Calif..

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June 21, 2008

Marines remain vigilant in Hit

HIT, Iraq — Marines here played the role of policemen by following one lead to another to bring down criminals and make the area safer for everyone.

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May 31, 2008

Marines adjust to an evolving Iraq

By Andrew Scutro - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday May 31, 2008 7:55:39 EDT

WESTERN IRAQ — This isn’t the combat mission these Marines expected.

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May 19, 2008

MILITARY: Treating the wounded in the Middle East

Navy docs staff medical facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan

TAQADDUM AIR BASE, IRAQ ---- It wasn’t a roadside bomb or small-arms fire that put Marine Lance Cpl. Douglas Cox in a hospital bed here last week.

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April 27, 2008

Baghdad museum receives artifacts stolen from Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's National Museum on Sunday welcomed the return of more than 700 antiquities stolen during the chaos that followed the U.S.-led invasion five years ago.

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April 24, 2008

Sisters of Fallujah break barriers, build security

FALLUJAH, Iraq – Entry control points (ECP) throughout Fallujah are designed to protect the city from harm and prevent people from transporting illegal contraband such as weapons and explosive materials. Coalition forces discovered the enemy exploiting the cultural sensitivity precluding the search of females by having females carry contraband into the city.

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March 13, 2008

Commander Cites Ramadi’s Recovery as Example of Iraq Success

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2008 – More than a year ago, the Iraqi city of Ramadi was a ruin of blasted buildings amid a population ravaged by al Qaeda terrorists and the effects of war, but the capital of Anbar province is bouncing back, a senior U.S. military commander in Iraq said today.

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March 12, 2008

Recording History - Part XIII - Jason and Lindsey

By Richard S. Lowry
March 12, 2008

December 12, 2004 changed Jason and Lindsey Arellano’s lives forever. U.S. Marine Sergeant Jason R Arellano, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Kilo Company, 2nd Platoon’s third squad leader found himself in Iraq for the second time. He had last seen American soil on September 11, 2004, leaving his loved ones in prayer and anticipation. Jason and Lindsey recently shared the following write-up with me after I contacted him to request an interview for my book. Jason told me that they wanted to write it all down before the memories faded. Hopefully, they will gather other stories of that fateful day and publish a book of their own. No doubt, I will tell Sergeant Jason Arellano’s story, but this poignant tale will be left for their telling.about

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March 6, 2008

War-torn city rises from ashes

FALLUJAH, Iraq (March 6, 2008) -- Just mentioning of the city of Fallujah conjures up images of a devastated city ripped apart by the horrors of war. It was November 2004, there were an estimated 2,000 insurgents infesting the city prepared to fight to the death and it was the Marine Corps’ job to facilitate this. After bitter house-to-house fighting the Marines took the city. In the battle’s wake, laid a city in ruin. Numerous buildings turned to rubble, the streets littered with debris, any form or city infrastructure such as water and power eliminated. It was total devastation.

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January 31, 2008

Jason Elam's Diary from Iraq: Day 1; Broncos kicker visiting U.S. soldiers

WOW, what a flight! After a non-stop from Denver to Frankfurt and then right on to Kuwait, we finally arrived last night and checked into our hotel here in Kuwait City.

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January 16, 2008

Company intel changes pace of operations

COMBAT OUPOST AKASHAT, Iraq – Intelligence specialists at the battalion level support a large area of operations, but some ground combat companies prefer to have “intel” elements at their level, especially when that unit is responsible for a large area itself.

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October 29, 2007

Iraqi soldiers donate $1,000 for wildfire aid

(CNN) -- The Iraqi leadership at a military camp east of Baghdad gave the U.S. military a $1,000 check last week to aid victims of California's wildfires, the U.S. military said.

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August 14, 2007

Understanding stress in a combat environment

NEAR KARMAH, Iraq (Aug. 14, 2007) -- We live in the electronic age. The added comfort of phone and internet capabilities in forward areas can ease strain on personal relationships and business matters “back home.” During the brief contact service members have with their loved ones, generally only the most important words are exchanged: “How’s the baby? Really, her first tooth?” or “I’m safe, I love you.” Our phone calls “back home” are a great break from the reality of everyday life here. Rest assured, when a Marine hangs up the phone, he goes right back to scratching heat rash. He can smell his dirty body, feel his sore shoulders and hear IEDs in the distant night. While making a phone call can be the best part of the week, hanging up is the worst.

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July 6, 2007

Outback Steakhouse customer satisfaction reaches all time high during operation Feeding Freedom Five

AL ASAD, Iraq (July 6, 2007) -- Smells of secret sauces and spices filled the inside of the dining facility as employees from Outback Steakhouse prepared Bloomin’ Onions, calamari, and pasta. Outside, the scent of sizzling steaks rose from the grill and wafted throughout the base.

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June 21, 2007

Conway: Marines too comfy at Iraq bases

By Kimberly Johnson - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Jun 21, 2007 5:57:26 EDT

Marines are getting too comfortable at their dug-in bases in Iraq, the Corps’ top officer told an audience at the Naval War College on June 13.

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June 17, 2007

ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: The warrior's passage; Battle leads Marines to a reckoning

Northern Iraq —- "There he goes! He's moving, he's moving!" cries my gunner. From a hidden alley, a white sedan fishtails onto the road ahead, its rear window shattering as the passengers open fire with AK-47s. As the bullets spray past our Humvee, the blistered air fills with the various whines, hums and snaps of our high-velocity passage. Above, my gunner takes aim, and the fight begins.

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Hospital Corps celebrates 109th birthday

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (June 17, 2007) -- After President William McKinley dotted the i’s June 17, 1898, the U.S. Navy’s Hospital Corps was established. One hundred and nine years later, sailors here carried out a ceremony to celebrate the birthday of one of the most decorated organizations in the military.

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June 7, 2007

Expeditionary Airfield Techs Build, Maintain Airfields

Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 also helicopter pads in Al Taqqadum

By Cpl. Ryan R. Jackson
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)

AL ASAD, Iraq, June 7, 2007 — If you could spend a day with an expeditionary airfield Marine in the United States, you would see them catching fighter jets with emergency arresting gear on the flightline. In Iraq, you would see them sweep flightlines for damage and making rapid repairs to ensure a safe landing zone.

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March 30, 2007

Ramadi: Clearing insurgents is step 1

RAMADI, Iraq - It began with a house-to-house sweep through what U.S. forces said was one of this city's last insurgent strongholds. It ended with rooftop gunfights, airstrikes and dead guerrillas on the streets — one sprawled next to a grenade he was about to hurl.

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March 28, 2007

New Hospital Built to Serve and Save


AL ASAD, Iraq -- When a servicemember is wounded in combat, his comrades quickly apply first aid and call for a medical evacuation; taking the first steps towards saving his life. When the helicopter arrives, the wounded man is loaded and transported to the hospital, where he is met at the landing pad by a team of medics and doctors who rush the servicemember into the hospital. At the hospital, the real lifesaving begins.

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February 1, 2007

Hope Rides Alone

Sgt. Eddie Jeffers was killed in Iraq on September 19, 2007. He was 23.

I stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others.

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January 5, 2007

Coalition Forces attacked in Fallujah

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – A Marine tank struck an improvised explosive device today in Fallujah.

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November 28, 2006

Pentagon Considers Moving Troops from Al-Anbar Province to Baghdad, Major Strategic Shift Considered to Secure Iraqi Capital.

Nov. 28, 2006 — ABC News has learned that Pentagon officials are considering a major strategic shift in Iraq, to move U.S. forces out of the dangerous Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province and join the fight to secure Baghdad.

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November 21, 2006

Marine pen pal tells of Iraqi experiences

ROXBURY TWP. – Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Masterson said his convoy was driving down an Iraqi roadway when it came to a sudden halt because a young Iraqi girl was sitting in the middle of the road, clutching a Teddy bear.

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October 5, 2006

U.S. denies killing al Qaeda leader in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. military denied on Thursday reports it had killed the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, and Iraqi officials said they were awaiting the results of DNA tests on several suspects killed in a raid.

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August 24, 2006

Purple Heart recipients appreciative of their protective equipment

Machine gunners Cpl. Charles J. Trask, 22, and Cpl. Jimmy D. Miller, 20, with Security Platoon, Combat Logistics Company 117, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Fwd), stand by a weapon mount similar to the ones they manned in separate incidents when the vehicles they were in encountered improvised explosive devices during operations in the Al Anbar Province. Trask, a Kansas City, Mo., native, said he believes personal protective equipment saved his hearing. Miller, a Huntsville, Ala., native, recovering from shrapnel injuries to his wrist, said he believes that personal protective equipment he wore prevented serious injuries


AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (Aug 24, 2006) -- Snapping awake, the Marine realized it was all a dream. The improvised explosive device his vehicle had just hit was only imagined. Shrugging it off, he went back to sleep.

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August 21, 2006

Flight surgeon looks to future while deployed to Al Asad

Navy Lt. Stacey R. Black stands in front of a CH-53E Super Stallion shortly before flight Aug. 20, at Al Asad, Iraq. Black is a flight surgeon for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and a native of Huntsville, Texas

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August 20, 2006

'Rules' of war limit Marines

We call it "the war in Iraq." But to many of the Marines here, it's not really a war – at least not on their side.

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August 16, 2006

Tankers honor a fallen comrade

CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (Aug. 14, 2006) -- Marines from A Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 paused their operations to honor one of their fallen, Aug. 14.

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Tank mechanics work around clock to keep tanks running, Marines safe

AL ASAD, Iraq (Aug. 17, 2006) -- Tank mechanics with the Twentynine Palms, Calif.-based C Company, 1st Tank Battalion log in 12-plus hour days, usually six or more days a week, turning wrenches and repairing parts to keep a fleet of 68-ton M1A1 Main Battle Tanks operational.

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Tank mechanics work around clock to keep tanks running, Marines safe

AL ASAD, Iraq (Aug. 17, 2006) -- Tank mechanics with the Twentynine Palms, Calif.-based C Company, 1st Tank Battalion log in 12-plus hour days, usually six or more days a week, turning wrenches and repairing parts to keep a fleet of 68-ton M1A1 Main Battle Tanks operational.

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August 14, 2006

Marine’s quick thinking saved lives, comrades say

BAGHDADI, Iraq (Aug. 14, 2006) -- The quick thinking, coupled with a series of well-aimed shots, by a Marine on post saved lives July 27, 2006, according to Marines and Iraqi soldiers serving here.

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August 10, 2006

Marine Corps Marathon set for Iraq in October

The Marine Corps Marathon is coming to Iraq this October with parallel races scheduled for Arlington, Va., and Anbar province, Iraq, organizers said.

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August 6, 2006

Night mission


Ar-Rutbah, Iraq Just after midnight, the night patrol embarks from its small but heavily bunkered and concertina-wired outpost on the edge of this small town in southwestern Al Anbar Province. They are 10 young American Marines, venturing into the darkness on the other side of the world.

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In Ramadi, the Battle Is Ever Changing

Marines alter their tactics as attackers become increasingly sophisticated in the Iraqi city, a Sunni insurgent stronghold.

RAMADI, Iraq — The orange-red glow of the tracer rounds burns bright in the dusk, forming a perfect cone over the heads of the Marines and Iraqi soldiers patrolling a dusty walled street.

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August 3, 2006

Local Marines destined for Iraq

Four Eastern Upper Peninsula men are part of a group of 200 U.S. Marine Reserves making their last visit to Michigan before being deployed into the Iraq conflict.

“We've been training in California since June 1,” said LCpl. Jacob Green of Sugar Island regarding his unit - Bravo Company First Battalion/24th Marines out of Saginaw.

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Marine injured in Iraq blast

A Medford resident in Iraq recently spent two days being treated for injuries after an Improvised Explosive Device blew up the vehicle he was driving.

Stephen McLaughlin was driving a Humvee down a road near Fallujah, one he had driven down many times, when he saw a pothole that was "bigger than it was before," said his father, Joseph McLaughlin, who spoke to his son by satellite phone last week

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Family, friends welcome home Death Jesters

Staff Sgt. Steven Pereira greets his wife, Stefanie, as he embraces his daughters, Chloey and Briannah, after returning from Iraq. Approximately 100 Marines and Sailors from Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 returned, Friday.

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In Ramadi, Steel Nerves Needed for Night Ride

U.S. Crew Knows Risks Of Iraq Bomb-Clearing

RAMADI, Iraq -- A red sun sinks behind a dusty row of tents at Camp Ramadi, and another shift begins for the dogged crew of soldiers and Marines who nightly scour this city's streets for bombs.

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August 1, 2006

Marine wins over Senate committee with candid take on problems in Iraq

WASHINGTON – The man nominated to be the next Marine Corps commandant told a Senate committee yesterday that the decisions to disband the Iraqi army and to bar all members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party from holding government jobs left U.S. commanders with too few troops and duties for which they were not prepared.

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lt. Gen. James T. Conway lived up to his reputation for being brutally candid. He won glowing praise from the committee leaders and a promise of easy confirmation.

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Marines learn from Vietnam’s CAP

Enemies that fade into civilian crowds, using hospitals and schools as hideouts and watching every move you make from the shadows. How do American troops prevail against them?

By learning to tell apart the good guys from the bad. By winning the good guys to your side.

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Marine unit cares for fallen in Anbar

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (July 20, 2006) - Marines of the Personnel Recovery and Processing unit at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, carry the remains of a fallen service member into a waiting aircraft at Camp Taqaddum’s airfield for transportation to the United States. The mission of PRP is to inventory the personal effects, identify the types of wounds sustained, and prepare the remains of service members killed in the Al Anbar province for transportation to Dover Air Force Base. The Marine Corps’ Personnel Retrieval and Processing units, formerly known as mortuary affairs, serve as a stepping stone on the journey home for those killed while serving in what is arguably the most dangerous province for U.S. service members in Iraq. Called PRP for short, the units are made up of 51 reserve Marines and sailors from various units and job fields. At Camp Taqaddum, a main logistics base located between Fallujah and Ramadi, the Marines have converted an old Iraqi Air Force hangar into the processing center for those killed in the Sunni-dominated area west of Baghdad.

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Marines to deploy to Iraq, some for second or third time

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT -- Even with only the first few rays of dawn and the unnatural glow of lights from a hangar early Monday, it was clear April Tripepi, pregnant with her second child, was fighting back tears. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Matthew Tripepi, held their 5-month-old son in his arms for the last time for six months. She could only manage to nod when asked whether she was proud of him.

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July 30, 2006

Marine photographer says Kevlar helmet saved him from enemy bullet in Iraq

Cpl. Brian M. Henner, a 22-year-old Marine from Rochester, N.Y., displays the Kevlar helmet he wore July 23, 2006, when he was shot in the head by an insurgent. Henner, a combat photographer with Regimental Combat Team 7, was shot in the helmet when insurgents, hidden in a near-by tree-line, fired upon Marines manning a vehicle inspection checkpoint. The incident took place in Haqlaniyah – one of three Euphrates River valley cities in the western portion of Al Anbar Province which make up the Haditha Triad region. “If I didn’t have it on, it probably would have went into the top of my head,” said Henner, a two-time veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “It didn’t just graze, it dug in to the helmet, but that’s why we wear them, though.” Henner was photographing the Marines’ activities when the gun fight began, and was caught in the middle. After firing several rounds at the insurgents, he began crawling along the median away from the insurgents’ fire – that’s when he was shot in the head, he said.

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July 29, 2006

Combat engineers: Valuable asset to U.S., Iraqi security operations in western Iraq

Cpl. Bryan D. Escobedo, a U.S. Marine and combat engineer attached to the Twenty-nine Palms, Calif.-based 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, carries lumber for use in the construction of bunkers July 27, 2006, at Camp Korean Village, Iraq. Bunkers are just one example of the various construction projects combat engineers frequently build to help protect Marines and Iraqi soldiers throughout the country’s Al Anbar Province. The engineers, trained in demolition, mine detection, and construction, operate in this vast desert stretching from the Jordanian border about 120 miles east towards the Euphrates River. Most of the engineers’ time is focused on beefing up security measures at the various U.S. military bases throughout Anbar’s western desert region. “We’re jacks of all trades,” said Cpl. Joshua T. Raney, a 21-year-old combat engineer attached to the battalion’s engineer detachment. “Without us, a lot of weapons caches, and IEDs would not have been found, and a lot of stuff wouldn’t have been built- we just make things a little easier for everyone.” In addition to the fortifications, combat engineers are keeping Coalition Forces safer by disposing of unexploded ordnance. Since their arrival in March, the engineers disposed of more than 500 pounds of ordnance – mortars, rockets, bombs, and other munitions. “We’re cutting down on the insurgents’ munitions,” said Raney. “For every piece we blow up, that is one less IED.” Escobedo is a 21-year-old from Houston, Texas.

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July 27, 2006

X-ray system aids postal Marines in Iraq

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (July 27, 2006) -- If you’re a Marine in Iraq, there’s a new set of eyes scanning the mail you’re sending home.

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July 24, 2006

Marines rescue three hostages, uncover weapons caches in Operation Spotlight

-A group of Marines from 1st Battalion, 25 Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, move an insurgent rocket found while conducting Operation Spotlight. The operation took place in the Fuhaylat, south of Fallujah, Iraq where three hostages were rescued and several weapons caches were located and destroyed by Marines.

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July 17, 2006

Marines fight to retake Ramadi

Still considered one of Iraq’s most dangerous places, Ramadi has seen a surge in violence over the last several months despite continuing pressure on insurgents by Iraqi army forces, Marines and soldiers.

A “murder and intimidation campaign” against provincial government officials, near-daily roadside bomb ambushes and attacks on Marine outposts have forced leathernecks from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, based in the city, to take Ramadi back “section by section,” restricting civilian traffic into and out of the city and setting up more combat outposts with Army and Iraqi security force presence.

“This is pushing insurgents into a box,” said coalition spokesman Maj. Chris Perrine.

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July 14, 2006

Lissner to assume command at Camp Fuji

Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Friday, July 14, 2006

The Marines at Camp Fuji, Japan, are to officially welcome their new permanent commander Friday.

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Okinawa-based Marine is killed in Iraq

Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Friday, July 14, 2006

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine based on Okinawa was killed July 2 while conducting combat operations in Iraq’s Anbar province.

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July 13, 2006

‘One step closer to not having to be here’ for Marines in Al Anbar

OBSERVATION POST OMAR, Iraq — Lance Cpl. Noah Welter has lugged his rifle and body armor down Route Mets so many times now the 21-year-old U.S. Marine has lost count.

“Our first patrol down this road turned into a five-hour hump-a-thon — in the rain,” the native of Snohomish, Wash., recalled as he scanned the route for signs of roadside bombs on Saturday. “Not fun.”

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July 11, 2006

Jazz, Coffee Morale Medicine for Marines

Camp Taqaddum, Iraq - Life on base is often monotonous when it isn't dangerous for the service members stationed here. The occasional mortar and rocket landing in the base's perimeter can break up daily routines.

Daily convoys leave the relative safety of the base braving improvised explosive devices to deliver supplies and transport troops to hotspots like Ramadi and Fallujah.

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July 10, 2006

Orange County band rocks Al Asad

Alternative rock band, Hollowell, plays for service members at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation building at Al Asad, Iraq, June 29. The Orange County, Calif., rock band played at several different bases in Iraq and Kuwait as a way to show support to the men and women stationed away from home.

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July 7, 2006

Marines thwart insurgents’ attempt to destroy new Iraqi school for girls

KARABILAH, Iraq (July 7, 2006) -- Thanks to the work of Marines and Iraqi Security Forces, 800 elementary-aged girls will now have a school to attend this fall.

Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment unveiled a brand-new grade school in this city of about 30,000 on the Iraq-Syria border in western Al Anbar Province July 7, 2006.

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July 6, 2006

Marines nest at Combat Outpost Hawk

COMBAT OUTPOST HAWK, Iraq (July 6, 2006) -- Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment sleep at Combat Outpost Hawk, which is being constructed July 6 with help from Combat Logistics Detachment 115.

The detachment has been transporting Iraqi Army and Iraqi police throughout the city of Ramadi and has also been working to build combat outposts in an effort to establish an Iraqi Army and police presence in the city.

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July 4, 2006

No holiday breaks for Marine mechanics in Iraq

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (July 4, 2006) -- It’s the Fourth of July in Iraq.

By 9 a.m. the wind has picked up and the powder-fine sand it carries causes the Marines to squint their eyes. Besides the dull rumble from diesel-engine powered generators and trucks, the day is quiet, almost empty.

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July 2, 2006

U.S. Army battalion honors second fallen soldier since arrival in Iraq

A U.S. soldier from the Friedburg, Germany-based 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, renders honors to the memorial of Spc. Michael J. Potocki June 28, 2006, in Hit, Iraq, during a memorial service. Potocki, a 21-year-old native of Baltimore, Md., and 2003 graduate of Patterson Senior High School, was killed in action June 26, 2006, while conducting combat operations in Hit – a city of 30,000 in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province. Potocki is the second U.S. soldier killed in the region since the battalion arrived in February. “He was a new breed of infantry soldier, but more importantly, he was a helluva person,” said Potocki’s team leader, Cpl. William McCoy, during the ceremony. “He is what I would want another country to see an American as.”

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June 29, 2006

Logistics Marines take on insurgency to entrench Iraqi Army in Ramadi

RAMADI, Iraq (June 29, 2006) -- In recent days, the tempo of security operations have significantly increased in this insurgent stronghold.

As U.S. and Iraqi forces push further into the city they plan to hold the ground they take by setting up small outposts on the insurgents' doorstep.

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Live-fire a must for infantry Marines

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, move through the cover of smoke during a live-fire exercise on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms. Supported by machine gun teams, the Marines attacked multiple bunkers during the mock assault. Participating in the month-long Mojave Viper training, the battalion conducted platoon, company and battalion sized live-fire operations.

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June 28, 2006

Marine in `Fahrenheit 9/11' killed in Iraq

DETROIT - A Marine and one-time recruiter who appeared in Michael Moore's documentary film "Fahrenheit 9/11" has died in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

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June 27, 2006

Marine lieutenant exposed himself to enemy fire to save another in Iraq


HADITHA, Iraq (June 27, 2006) -- Marines here say a lieutenant who was leading Marines and Iraqi soldiers through the volatile streets of Haditha, Iraq, June 14, showed uncommon valor when he ran into a barrage of enemy gunfire to pull a wounded Marine to safety.

1st Lt. Rick Posselt, a 25-year-old from Crystal River, Fla., said he is not the Marine who deserves the recognition.

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Marines in war zone continue to train tomorrow's leaders

AL ASAD, Iraq (June 27, 2006) -- Marines from across station here enrolled in the Corporals Course supervised by Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

The course was started by the Marines from VMFA(AW)-533 and began its third course June 5.

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June 26, 2006

'Angels' descend on Al Asad, save lives

AL ASAD, Iraq (June 26, 2006) -- The thumping of helicopter blades beats over the noise made by service members scrambling to help a wounded person, and as the sound becomes clearer, they look up and see the dark silhouettes of two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters drifting in to land.

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June 25, 2006

Hemet, Calif., Marine killed in Iraq remembered by fellow Marines, sailors

A Marine assigned to the Hawaii-based India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment pays his final respects to Cpl. Michael Estrella, a 20-year-old from Hemet, Calif., June 25, 2006, at a memorial service at the Marines’ base in Haditha, Iraq. Estrella was killed by enemy gunfire recently while on patrol with his platoon while searching for a suspected insurgent in western Al Anbar Province, Iraq. During the ceremony, Marines described Estrella as a “dedicated and professional Marine” who excelled at his job of being a radio operator. He often went without sleep to make sure his battalion had communication, the Marines said. Estrella was a 2003 graduate of Hemet High school and joined the Marine Corps in September 2003. He reported to 3rd Battalion in May 2004 and deployed with the unit to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom last year. His awards include the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment ribbon. The Hawaii-based battalion, also known as “America’s Battalion,” arrived in March and will be replaced by another Hawaii-based Marine unit this fall.

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June 24, 2006

GAO: Poor communications put Marines at higher risk of IEDs

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, June 24, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. — Poor communication between the Army and Marines, combined with Corps commanders’ decision to up-armor only a limited number of trucks at a time, put Marines in Iraq at increased risk from roadside bombs, a Government Accoubtability Office report found.

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June 22, 2006

Pilots meet challenges of flying in combat environment

AL ASAD, Iraq (June 22, 2006) -- Blasting off into the wild, blue yonder can seem a little exciting while viewing it through a TV screen, and it can be fairly exciting for the men and women who pilot the enormous CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters for the Marine Corps.

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Iraqis, Marines work together to rebuild lives in Al Anbar province

BARWANA, Iraq (June 22, 2006) -- As Sgt. Brett Bartels stood in front of a military vehicle handing out hundreds of stuffed animals and soccer balls on a dusty road in Barwana, his goal was simple – make sure each child went home with a smile on his face.

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Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq

WASHINGTON — The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday.

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June 21, 2006

Former ‘Magnificent Bastards’ react to sniper rifle recovery

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (June 21, 2006) -- Call it a little bit of justice.

Marine snipers from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment shot and killed an insurgent sniper and spotter preparing to shoot at passing Marines, June 16. And the insurgents were going to use a stolen Marine sniper rifle for the attack.

That rifle – an M-40A1 – belonged to the “Magnificent Bastards” of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, a battalion within the Regimental Combat Team 5 family. It was taken by insurgents when a team of four Marines were killed in a rooftop outpost June 21, 2004, in Ramadi.

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Marines continue to combat insurgency after death of Al Qaeda leader

BARWANA, Iraq - Marines assigned to the Hawaii-based L Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, search a house for insurgents, weapons caches and explosives during a patrol June 16. Despite the stunning blow to Iraq’s insurgency two weeks ago with the death of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Marines and Iraqi soldiers in this Al Anbar Province city are continuing the fight against terrorism by combating insurgent activity nearly daily. But while the Marines and Iraqi soldiers patrol the worn streets lined with pock marks from improvised explosive devices – homemade bombs that have bedeviled Coalition Forces – the Marines are reminded that insurgents are still working behind the scenes and planning attacks in this city of 30,000 located on the Euphrates River northwest of Baghdad. Still, the Marines here say that even though it has been a long and grueling three months, the insurgency is beginning to crumble as local residents are warming up to the Marines’ presence and the Iraqi Army is becoming a more solid and independent organization.


(3/3 Lima)

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June 20, 2006

Darkhorse snipers kill insurgent sniper, recover stolen Marine sniper rifle

CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (June 20, 2006) -- Scout snipers from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment killed an enemy sniper and recovered a Marine sniper rifle lost nearly two years ago during a mission near Habbaniyah June 16.

The rifle was the one formerly used by four Marines of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment who were killed on a rooftop in Ramadi June 21, 2004.

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Two missing U.S. soldiers found dead

BAGHDAD — Two U.S. soldiers missing since their checkpoint came under attack last week have been found dead, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Tuesday.

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June 19, 2006

Deployed Marine sees daughter’s birth via video linkup


JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — Marine Cpl. Terrence Lambert will have to wait until his return to Alabama in the fall to hold his first child, but a satellite linkup in Iraq allowed him to witness her birth on Father’s Day.

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Concussions go undiagnosed in thousands of troops, doctors say

Thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan may risk permanent brain damage by returning to combat with relatively minor but undiagnosed concussions, often caused by bomb blasts, military researchers say.

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Al-Qaida-linked group claims GIs’ abduction, Authenticity of Web statement not yet verified; military widens search

BAGHDAD, Iraq - An umbrella group that includes al-Qaida in Iraq claimed in a Web statement Monday that it had kidnapped two U.S. soldiers reported missing south of Baghdad.

Continue reading "Al-Qaida-linked group claims GIs’ abduction, Authenticity of Web statement not yet verified; military widens search" »

June 17, 2006

Support Marines brave Iraq’s roads daily in western Al Anbar province

CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq (June 17, 2006) -- In order for the battalion commander to move throughout his area of operations, he must be able to count on the security of a special team of Marines.

For Lt. Col. Nicholas F. Marano, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, that team is his personal security detachment, a Combined Anti-Armor Team called “CAAT Black” for short.

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Transition to certain Iraqi Army-led operations is hit and miss

HIT, Iraq (June 17, 2006) -- On the outskirts of this ancient city in southeastern Al Anbar province lies a tiny Iraqi Army post. A group of Iraqi Army officers sit on one side of a long table in a wooden conference room adorned with an Iraqi flag. On the opposite side of the table sits a handful of U.S. Marines.

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June 15, 2006

Marines near Iraqi-Syrian border mourn loss of three of their own

AL BU HARDAN, Iraq (June 15, 2006) -- Marines and sailors gathered at a small headquarters outpost near the Euphrates River to pay respects to three fallen brothers.

Two Marines and one sailor lost their lives while conducting security operations in a village near the Iraqi-Syrian border. Their vehicle struck a mine on one of the region’s dangerous roadways June 9, 2006.

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June 13, 2006

Insurgent attacks no match for Marines’ resolve

HAQLANIYAH, Iraq (June 13, 2006) -- In the afternoon of June 3, outside the Marines forwarding operating base located in the violent city of Haqlaniyah, three insurgents armed with automatic rifles and wearing face masks opened fire on Marines working in front of the barrier-laden base.

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June 10, 2006

Iraqis in Al Anbar province leaving army in droves

Soldiers tired of poor living conditions, irregular pay

By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, June 11, 2006

HADITHA, Iraq — Iraqi soldiers in Al Anbar province are leaving their army in droves, draining much-needed manpower from fledgling Iraqi security forces and preventing U.S. troops from reducing troop strength in the volatile region, U.S. and Iraqi military officials say.

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June 9, 2006

Operation ‘Cool Carpet’ bridges relationships

Iraqi Army Cpl. Husein Abass Husein unloaded a box of prayer rugs for a local mosque. Operation Cool Carpet combined Marines with A Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and soldiers from the Iraqi Army to deliver the rugs along with two new air conditioning units.

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June 8, 2006

Marines 'Race for the Cure' at Al Asad

AL ASAD, Iraq - Two Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 run during a half marathon June 3, at Al Asad, Iraq. The run was in support of the Susan J. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure. Fourteen Marines ran 14 miles and earned $240 dollars to go towards breast cancer research. MWSS-274 operates under Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

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Zarqawi's Death and Task Force 145

What are we to make of the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?


The hopeful view is that the death of this important commander and inspirational figure will deflate the terrorist influence in Iraq.

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June 6, 2006

Iraq-deployed Marines prepare for emergency rescues in Al Anbar province

CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq - Marines from Regimental Combat Team 7 prepare to board the back of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter May 29 to practice off-loading and security procedures for a tactical rescue of aircraft and personnel, or TRAP. The Marines, part of the regiment’s provisional rifle platoon, haven’t been called upon to conduct a rescue mission since they deployed to Iraq four months ago, but still train regularly for the mission: Jump in a helicopter, fly to the scene of a down aircraft, set up security, and help recover the pilots or salvage crucial equipment from the scene.

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May 13, 2006

Transition Teams Coach, Mentor Iraqi Units

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2006 – Serving on a military transition team may be the most important job in Iraq today, with members working with Iraqi units to realize President Bush's promise: "As the Iraqis stand up. We'll stand down."

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May 7, 2006

Kidney stones become soldiers’ silent enemy

BALAD AIR BASE, IRAQ – Army Sgt. John Jimison first felt the pain in his side while driving a military truck on a mission.

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April 15, 2006

Team of Marines mentor Iraqi soldiers on path to independent operations

HADITHA, Iraq (April 15, 2006) -- Arguably the most important mission of Coalition Forces in Iraq is assisting Iraqi Security Forces with eventually spearheading all security operations in Iraq.

The transition between the two military forces in Al Anbar Province will occur by year's end, according to Coalition officials.

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April 10, 2006

Popular clothing off-limits to Marines in Iraq

CAMP TAQADDUM, IRAQ (April 10, 2006) -- Under direction of Marine Corps commanders in Iraq, wearing synthetic athletic clothing containing polyester and nylon has been prohibited while conducting operations off of forward operating bases and camps.

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April 7, 2006

Iraqi Soldier Allegedly Kills U.S. Marine Fri Apr 7, 7:20 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. Marine was shot and killed allegedly by an Iraqi soldier at a base near the Syrian border, the U.S. said Friday. The Iraqi soldier was then wounded by another American Marine.

Continue reading "Iraqi Soldier Allegedly Kills U.S. Marine Fri Apr 7, 7:20 PM ET" »

Marines Attempt to Stabilize Syrian Border

QAIM, Iraq - U.S. Marines along the volatile Syrian border have largely abandoned big bases to fan out over a dozen smaller outposts within cities — part of a resurrected Vietnam-era strategy to live among civilians and mentor local soldiers.

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April 6, 2006

Marine from Missouri unfazed by combat injuries in Iraq

HADITHA, Iraq (April 6, 2006) -- Lance Cpl. Matt Calvert accepts the wound he received March 25 from a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq. It comes with the territory of being a Marine in a combat zone.

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Recovery and war vie in Iraq

HUSAYBA, Iraq Last August, under daily attack from car bombs and mortars, the Marines took down the only bridge over the Euphrates River for miles around.

Now they are trying to rebuild it.

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April 4, 2006

New Battle on the Home Front

This is part three of a three-part series entitled "The Lifeline" where LA Times Reporter David Zucchino and photographer Rick Loomis follow five wounded troops through a system of military medical care more advanced than in any previous conflict. This series is not for the "faint of heart" and is very graphic, as are the accompanying slides and interactives that can be seen by clicking on the original link. Kudos to these reporters entering this touchy area and at the same time letting us meet, firsthand, another group of military heroes--the medics, the surgeons, the orthopedists, the opthmalogists, and all the rest of the medical staff that are there to take care of our boys.

part one is found at: http://www.marine-corps-news.com/2006/04/bringing_back_the_wounded_with.htm
part two is found at: http://www.marine-corps-news.com/2006/04/the_journey_through_trauma.htm

LAST OF THREE PARTS
THE LIFELINE
New Battle on the Home Front

When wounded U.S. troops return from Iraq, nearly everything has changed. Except, for many, the drive to keep on fighting.

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Heat injury a factor as mercury rises in Iraq

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (April 4, 2006) -- Outdoor temperatures sore above 130 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months here, so personnel will need to take proper precautions in order to keep themselves from falling victim to the dangerous side effects of heat injury.

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April 3, 2006

The Journey Through Trauma

This is part two of a three-part series entitled "The Lifeline" where LA Times Reporter David Zucchino and photographer Rick Loomis follow five wounded troops through a system of military medical care more advanced than in any previous conflict. This series is not for the "faint of heart" and is very graphic, as are the accompanying slides and interactives that can be seen by clicking on the original link. Kudos to these reporters entering this touchy area and at the same time letting us meet, firsthand, another group of military heroes--the medics, the surgeons, the orthopedists, the opthmalogists, and all the rest of the medical staff that are there to take care of our boys. part one is found at:
http://www.marine-corps-news.com/2006/04/bringing_back_the_wounded_with.htm

PART TWO
THE LIFELINE
The Journey Through Trauma

U.S. troops who survive the critical 'golden hour' after being seriously wounded in Iraq owe their lives to a fast-acting team of battlefield medics, pilots, nurses and surgeons.

Continue reading "The Journey Through Trauma" »

April 2, 2006

Bringing Back the Wounded With Heart, Soul and Surgery

This is part one of a three-part series entitled "The Lifeline" where LA Times Reporter David Zucchino and photographer Rick Loomis follow five wounded troops through a system of military medical care more advanced than in any previous conflict. This series is not for the "faint of heart" and is very graphic, as are the accompanying slides and interactives that can be seen by clicking on the original link. Kudos to these reporters entering this touchy area and at the same time letting us meet, firsthand, another group of military heroes--the medics, the surgeons, the orthopedists, the opthmalogists, and all the rest of the medical staff that are there to take care of our boys.

PART ONE
THE LIFELINE
Bringing Back the Wounded With Heart, Soul and Surgery
Injured troops are swept up in a lifesaving process unmatched in past wars -- reaching hospitals in minutes and the U.S. in days. But their agony doesn't end on the battlefield.

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March 31, 2006

AP Blog From Ramadi, Iraq By The Associated Press

Todd Pitman, who is West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press, is embedded with U.S. Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment in Ramadi, Iraq. : MONDAY, March 31, 2 p.m. local/ RAMADI

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March 27, 2006

Marines helping to line up Sunnis for Iraq's army

U.S. military seeks to diversify a mostly Shiite fighting force

Qaim, Iraq -- They came by the hundreds. Iraqi men, mostly young but a few graybeards, milling about the desert or squatting in the sand with their robes tucked between their legs and turbans fluttering in the breeze.

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Iraqi soldiers go solo in western Iraq

UBAYDI, Iraq (March 27, 2006) -- Iraqi soldiers have taken their first steps toward functioning entirely on their own In this remote region of northwestern Iraq.

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AP Blog From Ramadi, Iraq By The Associated Press


Todd Pitman, who is West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press, is embedded with U.S. Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment in Ramadi, Iraq. MONDAY MARCH 27- RAMADI

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March 24, 2006

California-based Marine battalion starts second tour in Iraq’s Qa’im region

CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq (March 24, 2006) -- Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment never thought they’d see the Al Qa’im region of Iraq again when they departed their military camp here in March last year.

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March 22, 2006

After seven months of battling insurgents, restoring security, North Carolina Marines near end of tour in Iraq

CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq (March 22, 2006) -- After spending seven months of routing out insurgents and stabilizing the Al Qa’im region in western Al Anbar Province, Marines from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment say they’re leaving the region in better shape then when they arrived last year.

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On war's anniversary, a family mourns, another worries

As he sank into the couch in his parents' Freemansburg home, the shrapnel scar visible behind his ear, 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Tony Gilliard clicked through an electronic photo album of the guys he spent nine months with, fighting side-by-side in Iraq.

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March 20, 2006

Canton, Mich., Marine brothers cross paths in Iraq

CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq (March 20, 2006) -- After enlisting in the Marine Corps more than a year apart, two brothers from Canton, Mich., have crossed paths in Iraq, while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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March 18, 2006

For Amtrac Marines, finding weapons caches is well worth the effort

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (March 17, 2006) -- Searching for weapons caches in Iraq requires hard work, patience and an eye for details.

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Iraqi soldiers roll in armor, thanks to Marines

CAMP HABBINYAH, Iraq (March 18, 2006) -- Iraqi soldiers in Fallujah are rolling in armored humvees, just like their Marine counterparts.

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March 17, 2006

1,000 more sailors expected to join ground forces in Iraq


Three years after Baghdad fell, the Navy is poised to dramatically increase the number of sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan, filling gaps in Army and Marine Corps units.

The seamen, called "individual augmentees," support ground operations thousands of miles from the nearest port, in deployments that can be far different from the Navy's traditional role.

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Three years in Iraq force dramatic military changes

WASHINGTON — Before the war in Iraq, counterinsurgency was another word for quagmire.

But three years of fighting door-to-door in Fallujah and defusing roadside bombs from Basra to Mosul have forced the Pentagon to embrace this form of warfare that it had sworn off of as Vietnam collapsed 35 years ago.

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March 16, 2006

VMA-513 Nightmares ready to strike fear in the enemy

AL ASAD, Iraq (Mar. 16, 2006) -- An AV-8B Harrier screams loudly as it slowly lowers itself to the runway. Four other Harriers circle above, waiting for their turn to land - the Flying Nightmares have arrived.

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March 15, 2006

Iraqi soldiers on track for independent operations in Al Anbar Province

CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq (March 15, 2006) -- Iraqi soldiers are right on schedule with training requirements that will allow them to eventually relieve U.S. military forces in western Al Anbar Province, according to Marine officials here.

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March 14, 2006

On Call in Hell

He left a desk job for the front lines of Fallujah—and a horror show few doctors ever see. How Richard Jadick earned his Bronze Star. (1/8)

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Marines bring computers, web access to Iraqi schools

CAMP SMITTY, Iraq(March 14, 2006) -- Marines and Soldiers attached to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment recently made a special delivery to the future of Iraq – the children.

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March 13, 2006

STAYING TRUE. PHASING OUT: IRAQ

"A partnership between Regimental Combat Team 5 and the Iraqi Army here was cemented when commanders from the coalition shook hands yesterday."

Operation Iraqi Freedom was intent on spreading democracy, though naysayers broadcast it was an invasion. Those endorsing the Operation regard the motive being a liberation.

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March 12, 2006

Hecklers harass families of US soldiers killed in Iraq

Five women sang and danced as they held up signs saying "thank God for dead soldiers" at the funeral of an army sergeant who was killed by an Iraqi bomb.

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March 11, 2006

U.S. soldiers connect with residents in small Iraqi town

Diyara, Iraq -- The elderly mother is beside herself with grief. Her son was kidnapped a year ago. She's heard nothing about him since.

It's hard to tell her age. She wears all-black robes and a black scarf over her head, showing only her face from mid-forehead down. Her face is puffy and lined.

She speaks in Arabic, hands gesturing wildly, and little moans escape between sentences.

"She says, 'I die a little every day,' " an interpreter explains.

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Marines carry six-pack attack

CAMP MERCURY, Iraq(March 9, 2006) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to want one.

Marines with Regimental Combat Team 5, based in Camp Fallujah, test-fired the latest in the Corps’ arsenal of weapons’ improvement, the M-32 Multiple shot Grenade Launcher. It’s a six-barreled, 40 mm beast of weapon that has just about enough attitude for Marines.

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March 10, 2006

Donation from Boston keeps Shreveport, La., boxer swinging


CAMP MERCURY, Iraq (March 10, 2006) -- Marines of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment have a new way to blow off steam at the end of the day. All they have to do is strap on a set of gloves and take a swing at another Marine.

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March 9, 2006

New scope proves worth with Darkhorse snipers

CAMP MERCURY, Iraq (March 9, 2006) -- Marine snipers here put the Corps’ latest sniper optic to the test and it proved to be spot-on. Proof is one less bad guy planting roadside bombs.

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HMM-268 takes over CASEVAC and aviation support missions from HMM-161

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (Mar. 9, 2006) -- In what has become a familiar routine, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, passed responsibility for casualty evacuation and general aviation support missions in Iraq Feb. 25 to HMM-268, MAG-16, 3rd MAW, ending another successful deployment to the newly democratic nation.

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March 8, 2006

Marine engineers ‘dig’ broad mission in Iraq

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (March 8, 2006) -- Whether they’re sweeping for improvised explosive devices, reinforcing outlying posts or joining foot patrols, combat engineers with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, stay busy.

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Marines train Nigerian troops

CAMP TAHOUA, Niger (Mar. 8, 2006) -- A company of Milwaukee, Wis. based reserve Marines taught Nigerian soldiers the basics of security and stability operations (SASO) during exercise Shared Accord 06.

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March 7, 2006

Regimental Combat Team 7 wraps up counterinsurgency disruption operation in Al Anbar Province

PRESS RELEASE
CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq -- Regimental Combat Team 7 concluded a five-day long disruption operation dubbed Al Asad (Lion) Sunday morning.

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RCT-5 partners with Iraqi brigade

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (March 7, 2006) -- A partnership between Regimental Combat Team 5 and the Iraqi Army here was cemented when commanders from the coalition shook hands yesterday.

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March 5, 2006

Marines take refuge in Bull Pen to keep in touch

CAMP MERCURY, Iraq (March 5, 2006) -- Marines sit patiently on wooden benches and wait their turn to call home. A voice calls “Computer five, time’s up!”

Continue reading "Marines take refuge in Bull Pen to keep in touch" »

U.S. Marines Wall in Iraqi City With Sand

RUTBAH, Iraq (AP) - U.S. Marines used to patrol the streets of this city near the volatile Syrian border. Now they've penned it in with a wall of sand, leaving only three ways in or out.

While causing discomfort to the townspeople, the military says it is an effective barrier to insurgents and frees up troops for use in other parts of restive Anbar province in western Iraq.

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March 4, 2006

Families unite behind Arlington trio in Iraq

Three military men, all from Upper Arlington, graduated from the same middle school. They traveled to Iraq on the same Navy ship, in the same unit. Now, they’re preparing to come back to the United States on that same ship. Although Navy Lt. Tim Burkhart, Marine 1 st Lt. Antonio Agnone and Marine Pfc. Bob Lane are all members of the 22 nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, they have never been together. But their families have. This week, their brothers, fathers, mothers and sisters gathered at Da Vinci Ristorante at Henderson and Reed roads and talked for hours.

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March 3, 2006

Sweat Hogs rotate in, out of Iraq

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC (March 3, 2006) -- Units throughout the Marine Corps are continuously rotating into Iraq and Afghanistan, with one group of Marines replacing another so they can take a break from the high operational tempo. But, the Marines of one Fightertown squadron have taken very few breaks in between their deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

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News Scarce for isolated Marines in Iraq

HUSAYBAH, Iraq - News travels slowly to American troops deployed in the desert plains of Iraq. Days after the bombing of a Shiite shrine convulsed the country in religious violence, word hadn't reached U.S. Marines some 160 miles away. (3/6)

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February 27, 2006

Marines leave no place for insurgents to hide in western Al Anbar

KHAFFAJIYAH, Iraq (Feb. 26, 2006) -- Marines in the Haditha Dam region continued to keep insurgents on their heels during another counterinsurgency operation here Feb. 26.

Continue reading "Marines leave no place for insurgents to hide in western Al Anbar" »

February 22, 2006

Regimental Combat Team 5 begins operations in Al Anbar Province

Feb. 22, 2006

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Regimental Combat Team 5 successfully conducted a relief-in-place with Regimental Combat Team 8 and assumed responsibility for an area of operations in eastern Al Anbar Province today.

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February 21, 2006

For Headquarters Company, training is continuous

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Feb. 21, 2006) -- Navy Seaman Apprentice Bradley L. Jones has one good reason for getting better at handling his rifle in Iraq.

“I will protect my patients at all costs.”

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February 17, 2006

Snipers keep eye on Operation Industrial Revolution

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Feb. 17, 2006) -- Cpl. Justin V. Novi summed up the mission with a simple statement.

“It’s a huge building to clear.”

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February 14, 2006

Moonlighters, Stingers return from Iraq

Though shivering in her new sleek, black skirt suit, Jessica Schuffert refused to take shelter from the cold and wind gusting through the hangar Monday at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
"I don't want to miss anything," said Schuffert, who was waiting for her husband of almost three years, Staff Sgt. James Schuffert, to return from a seven-month deployment in Al Asad, Iraq, along with about 110 fellow Marines from All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 332 and 50 from Marine Aviation Logistics 31.

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3/7, Iraqi Army work together making Ramadi streets safer


AR RAMADI, Iraq (Feb. 14, 2006) -- The patrol almost screams to a stop, with humvees speeding past the targeted vehicle only to turn suddenly and cordon off the traffic while Marines and Iraqi soldiers quickly climb out and secure the area. While the selected vehicle is rapidly emptied and searched thoroughly, another squad searches the occupants for anything that might link them to the insurgency and asks them if they have information that could prove helpful.

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Iraqi sniper gives reporter a rude welcome to Ramadi

Editor's note: Antonio Castaneda, an Associated Press reporter, is embedded with Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment. Here is his first-person account:

Ramadi, Iraq - A loud "zing" echoed across the street, as if someone had swung an aluminum bat against a pole. I instinctively ducked, then quickly pressed up against the front- right tire of the car nearest me.

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February 12, 2006

Troops coming and going

Trenton VanBoening — perhaps a future lieutenant in the making — was ready for his dad to come home from Iraq.

The 19-month-old boy was decked out in his own pair of desert cammies, the same kind his father — 1st. Lt. Simon VanBoening — wears when he’s in the field with his unit, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines.

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February 5, 2006

Aviation authority transferred to MAG-16 in Western Iraq

AL ASAD, Iraq (Feb. 5, 2006) -- Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, returned to the dust-blown streets and runways of Al Asad, Iraq, Feb. 5, replacing MAG-26 as the primary facilitator of aviation support in their area of responsibility.

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January 30, 2006

The call of duty ~~Marine squadrons deploy to Iraq

Members of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, the Hawks, and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 made the long walk to a transport plane Sunday as they prepared for the long trip to Iraq.

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2/6 Marine recognized for superior leadership

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Jan. 30, 2006) -- First Lt. Martin B. Keogh from Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment was awarded the 2nd Marine Division Association’s Tarawa Award.

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January 29, 2006

Cherry Point unit returns from Iraq deployment

CHERRY POINT — There were balloons, banners and a brass band, but the warmest welcome the 115 or so returning Marines received on Saturday came in the form of hugs from family members.

The VMAQ-1 “Banshees” Tactical Electronic Warfare squadron returned to Cherry Point following a 6 1/2-month stretch in Iraq.

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NCO recognized for outstanding leadership

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Jan. 29, 2006) -- A Marine from Company F, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment was awarded the 2nd Marine Division Association’s Lt. Gen. Julian C. Smith Award for his leadership excellence while serving as squad leader for 1st Squad, 4th Platoon.

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January 27, 2006

Beaufort Marines heading to Iraq

(Marine Corps Airs Station Beaufort-AP) January 27, 2006 - About 110 Marines from the Air Station in Beaufort are heading to Iraq this weekend.
The squadron - known as the Hawks - will be heading to western Iraq. They will be joined by members of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31.

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Iraqi Army Division Takes Security Lead in Two Provinces


WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2006 – The 8th Iraqi Army Division now has responsibility for military operations across two large provinces, a senior U.S. military officer told reporters in Baghdad yesterday.

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January 25, 2006

Staying Marine in Iraq


CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Jan. 25, 2006) -- Reenlisting or separating from the Marine Corps is a decision each enlisted Marine reaches at some point in their career.

Gunnery Sgt. Antonio M. Hardy, the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) career retention specialist is on hand here to assist Marines considering “re-uping” while forward deployed.

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'Wild Goose' hosts 4th MAW leaders in Iraq

AL ASAD, Iraq(Jan. 25, 2006) -- Marines and Sailors from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 774 recently received a very personal message of appreciation.

Brigadier Gen. R. David Papak, the commanding general of 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, and Sgt. Maj. Jimmy D. Cummings, the Wing sergeant major, visited the Wild Geese of HMM-774, Jan. 18, at Al Asad, Iraq. The visit was much more than just a trip to inspect the front lines, Papak said.

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January 24, 2006

Military Culture Must Change for 'Long War'


As the United States confronts terrorism, military personnel have to make a cultural shift as they fight what officials now call "the Long War," senior DoD officials said.

Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview that the generation of servicemembers entering the military today must focus on how the United States will deal with extremist networks that threaten America and its allies.

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Euless, Texas, brothers work together in Iraq

CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq(Jan. 23, 2006) -- A Marine is never alone because around them at all times are fellow Marines taking care of them, watching their back and making sure they get home. Every Marine is a brother or sister to another Marine. (14th Marine Reg attached to 3/6)

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Experience pays off for Destin, Fla., native

FALLUJAH, Iraq(Jan. 24, 2006) -- “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror; I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote. (2/6 E. 4th Plt)

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Outpost to raise Iraq’s border security prospects

By Monte Morin, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, January 24, 2006

COMBAT OUTPOST SOUTH, Iraq — Right now it stands like a ghost town in the vast khaki expanse of western Iraq, but in the coming days this newly minted outpost could play a critical role in Iraq’s future security, U.S. military commanders said. (II MEF)

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January 23, 2006

Bush: Progress Continues in Terror War, But Threat Remains


WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2006 – President Bush said today he will listen to military ground commanders, not polls or focus groups, when making decisions about force levels in Iraq.

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January 22, 2006

The Fewer. The Proud. The Corpsmen.

Wherever Marines go, there are corpsmen following, guarding and watching over the wellbeing of the Marine unit. Seaman John Bradley was the corpsman with the notorious 28th Marine Regiment who raised the American flag on Mt. Suribachi during the invasion of Iwo Jima. (3/11)

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January 19, 2006

Injured military dogs back on duty, but without handler

Sgt. Adam L. Cann was killed in attack on Ramadi police station

Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, January 19, 2006

BAGHDAD — The three military working dogs injured in this month’s deadly suicide attack on a Ramadi police recruiting event have been treated and returned to duty, medical officials told Stars and Stripes this week.

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Iraqi Army confident in the future of Iraq

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Jan. 19, 2006) -- Twenty-five-year-old Iraqi Army 1st Lt. Hussin, who’s been a soldier for five years, smiled at the thought of a promising future for Iraq and the hopes of defeating terrorists which plague his country. When asked if he thinks whether the country will divide or remain together he responded, “Together, but not just Iraq…all of the world.”

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8th ESB hosts mess night

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Jan. 19, 2006) -- The commanding officer of 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), gives an order to one of his Marines to dance. Without hesitation the Marine starts “busting a move” to the hip-hop music that blares through the speakers.

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January 18, 2006

2nd MLG Marines are first to train Iraqi Logistics Regiment

AL ASAD, Iraq(Jan. 18, 2006) -- More than nine Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward)are members of the first Marine unit to begin training one of the two first Iraqi logistics regiments in the new Iraqi Army.

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Civil affairs continues making positive difference


CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Jan. 18, 2006) -- Marines assigned to the 6th Civil Affairs Group, 2nd Marine Division, prove there is another side of the story to tell as they continue to carry out their missions to provide guidance within Al Anbar province, the largest province in Iraq.

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January 16, 2006

Norwalk, Calif., native keeps commander safe


HADITHA DAM, Iraq(Jan. 16, 2006) -- The job of lead vehicle gunner for a convoy in Iraq is one of the most dangerous and demanding jobs for a Marine, as insurgents continue to place roadside bombs aimed at injuring Marines, Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians.
(3/1)

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January 15, 2006

Thrice-hurt Marine undeterred

PROUD PARENTS — Leslie and Doyle Perkins look at a photo album and read letters from their son, Lance Cpl. Preston “Cody” Perkins, pictured in foreground. Cody Perkins, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, also known as the “Thundering Third,” has been a Marine for just 21/2 years but has already been awarded three Purple Hearts. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR

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January 14, 2006

Baldwin, Wis., native works alongside Iraqi troops

AL TAMAL, Iraq (Jan. 14, 2006) -- The last time Corporal Matt D. McGee was deployed to Iraq he was responsible for finding and destroying the enemy and maintaining his personal weapon and light armored vehicle.

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Kenai, Alaska, “doc” confirms calling in Iraq

AL TAMAL, Iraq (Jan. 14, 2006) -- Seaman Bryan W. Stocks, a 20-year-old Kenai, Alaska, native and platoon hospital corpsman for 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, had a tough choice to make when he was considering enlisting into the Navy: nuclear physics or medicine

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Operation Hedgehog unearths insurgent explosive caches

HIT, Iraq (Jan. 14, 2006) -- For four long, backbreaking days, Marine combat engineers and infantrymen unearthed cache after cache of insurgent ordnance and weaponry in and around Hit, Iraq during Operation Hedgehog. (22nd MEU)

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January 13, 2006

Radio operator knows no barriers


CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Jan. 13, 2006) -- Cincinnati native, Cpl. Tasha M. Monz is on her third deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, proving the war in Iraq has become yet another major milestone for women in the military. (CLB8 MLG)

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Protective gear keeps Marines safe


CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Jan. 13, 2006) -- When someone jumps from an aircraft thousands of feet above the ground, you never see them without a parachute strapped tightly against their backs. Wearing the proper gear to ensure a safe landing is paramount for skydivers. The same rule applies to service members in Iraq. (8th ESB 2nd MLG)

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News distribution system makes its MEU debut


FORWARD OPERATING BASE HIT, Iraq (Jan. 13, 2006) -- Perched high atop one of the buildings that is currently home to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), a small satellite transmitter dish is the first step in a process used to keep the American public informed of the unit’s role in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Tampa Bay, Fla., native helps protect Marines in Iraq

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, RAMADI, Iraq (Jan. 13, 2006) -- Lance Cpl. Alex Fox volunteered to deploy here in hopes of to make a contribution vice caught up in working parties at Lejeune. When Fox returned from his six-month tour in Iraq conducting security operations in the Walleed area along the Iraq-Syria border in March 2005, he decided he wanted to return. (3/10)

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January 12, 2006

Marines share hometown roots

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Jan. 12, 2006) -- For two Marines from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, the pain of being away from home is eased by the memories they can share of growing up in the same area.

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January 11, 2006

Chicago native keeps Marines, computers talking


CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq (Jan. 11, 2006) -- It can be said communications is one of the central ingredients of modern combat operations in Iraq. Marines must be able to communicate with one another through the use of secure technology in order to plan, coordinate and execute missions vital to the success of the overall mission here. (3/6)

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January 10, 2006

Southern Calif., Marine keeps Light Armor Recon running

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq(Jan. 11, 2006) -- Without a continuous flow of supplies, combat-ready units within the Marine Corps would cease to function. This is where Marines like Lance Cpl. Kevin J. Bourbon, a supply administration and operations clerk, play a big role in ensuring that does not happen. (1st LAR)

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January 9, 2006

Corpsman risks life, saves lives of two Marines

CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq(Jan. 9, 2006) -- Retired Marine Maj. Gene Duncan once defined Navy hospital corpsmen as, “Usually a young, long haired, bearded, Marine-hatin' Sailor with certain medical skills, who will go through the very gates of Hell to get to a wounded Marine.” (RCT-2)

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Operation Red Bull disrupts terrorism in “Triad” area

WESTERN AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq (Jan. 9, 2006) -- For more than two weeks, Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, conducted sweeps along the Euphrates River shore to disrupt terrorist operations in the area.

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January 8, 2006

Operation Long Horn impacts uncharted territory

LAKE THAR THAR, Iraq(Jan. 8, 2006) -- Marines with Mobile Assault Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, rooted out insurgents in remote areas of western Al Anbar province Jan. 5 to the 10.

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Assistant Commandant and Medal of Honor recipient visit 22nd MEU (SOC) in IRAQ


FORWARD OPERATING BASE HIT, Iraq(Jan. 8, 2006) -- As part of their tour of Marine forces in Iraq, a small delegation from Washington, D.C. recently visited the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) at Forward Operating Base Hit, Iraq.

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Families decorate banners for troops' return

BEAUFORT -- Seven-year-old Bryce and 6-year-old Kaylie Richardson squatted over a swath of white fabric, painting large red and blue acrylic letters for a "welcome home" banner Saturday morning at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. (Moonlighters Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 332)

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January 7, 2006

Marines died from lack of armor

Pentagon study: Enlarging shields could have saved 74 lives

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Waging war, and peace, on the front lines in Iraq

FORWARD OPERATING BASE NEW MARKET, Iraq (Jan. 7, 2006) -- Seemingly alone in the vast Iraqi desert, a small group of Marines, sailors, and Iraqi soldiers are keeping a remote area of Iraq free of insurgent activity for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).

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January 6, 2006

Motor-T Marines brave Iraq's roads


CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Jan. 6, 2006) -- Corporal Eric J. Bell poked his head down from the gunner’s turret and spoke in a monotone voice to the Marines inside the humvee, “Well, Happy New Year guys.”

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BLT 1/2 patrols through Hit, Iraq

HIT, Iraq (Jan. 6, 2006) -- Pushing out from their combat outposts, Marines from Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 2nd Marine Regiment, recently began conducting foot and motorized patrols in the city of Hit, Iraq. (1/2 BLT, 22nd MEU, and MMHS 261)

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Marine commander says al-Qaeda likely behind deadly Ramadi attack, but no proof

WASHINGTON – The commander of U.S. forces in western Iraq said Friday he suspects that al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq carried out the suicide bomb attack in Ramadi that killed dozens, including two U.S. troops, on Thursday, although he has no evidence to prove it.

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Better body armor could have prevented Iraq deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An unreleased Pentagon study of fatal torso wounds to Marines killed in Iraq found that most might have been prevented or minimized if they had been wearing improved body armor.

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January 5, 2006

Marines provide escort as Iraqis unload critical medical supplies

Iraqi soldiers deliver two-month stockpile in Ramadi

By Monte Morin, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, January 5, 2006

RAMADI, Iraq — It was no time for cigarettes and chai.

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Commander’s Cup vied for in Iraq

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Jan. 5, 2006) -- Between work schedules, Marines and Sailors with 8th Communication Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Headquarters Group, II MEF (FWD), completed more than two months of intramural style competition in Iraq with the presentation of the Commander’s Cup Jan. 2.

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January 4, 2006

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kevin Wollam

3/7 Marine: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kevin Wollam, a rifleman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, said he is enjoying his time in Iraq and understands that the sooner they can help the Iraqi Army become solvent, the sooner coalition forces will be able to leave Iraq in Iraqi hands. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

This is the son of MarineParents.com member KevsMom.

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January 3, 2006

'Marlboro Marine': Home Front Woes

(CBS) In November 2004, a photo of a U.S. Marine made the front page of newspapers across the country. The picture is still one of the best-known images of the war. But the man himself has moved on, and is having trouble adjusting to civilian life.

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December 29, 2005

Santa Ana, Calif. native keeps Marines battle-ready


HADITHA DAM, Iraq (Dec. 27, 2005) -- Known as one of a Marine’s best friends, the Navy field corpsman spends most of his time keeping Marines healthy and battle-ready while operating in the most hostile combat environments.

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Marine Sweeps for IEDs in Haqlaniyah

U.S. Marine Corps
Lance Cpl. Darin Wittnebel

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December 14, 2005

Oconomowoc, Wis., native sweeps for IEDs in Haqlaniyah


HAQLANIYAH, Iraq (Dec. 14, 2005) -- In the town of Haqlaniyah, the “Raiders” of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, continue to patrol the streets every day, keeping the area safe from the ongoing insurgency.

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Soldiers say media miss Iraq story

'So much of what happens here never makes the nightly news.'

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Marines in Fallujah take back seat for election security

By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, December 14, 2005

After nearly two years of persistent clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents in the Fallujah area, some local Iraqi leaders hope this week’s election can succeed where violence has failed. (2/2)

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December 13, 2005

Marine dad plans deep talk with son

Editor's note: This is an occasional series featuring stories of soldiers far from home and their loved ones here.

What it's like to be a Marine Reserve with a 5 year old son, and explain to him why Daddy must leave.

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December 12, 2005

Some Marine posts have just the bare necessities

Hot meals, showers in short supply at smaller Iraq bases

KARMAH, Iraq — Lance Cpl. Aaron Snell was eagerly devouring his Thursday morning breakfast, the only hot meal served each week at this small outpost, known here only as “O-P Three,” just a few miles east of Fallujah. (2/2 Golf)

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Christmas surprise

STAUNTON — It's 76 degrees in Baghdad today. There's not a snowflake in sight. And there's certainly no such thing as a silent night.

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December 9, 2005

Ops Chief, RP recount days in recruit training

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Dec. 9, 2005) -- On Nov. 10, 1992, two young men found themselves standing on the yellow footprints together aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. Now, more than 13 years later they reunited in Iraq for the first time since graduating recruit training. (5/14 & 8th Comm Marines)

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Manassas native keeps Marines connected in Iraq

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq (Dec. 9, 2005) -- Corporal Justin A. Dagostin keeps the 2nd Marine Division connected. The 23-year-old Manassas, Va., native maintains the communications equipment that allows Marines here in western Iraq to coordinate the complex military operations needed to bring stability to the province. (2nd Mar HQ BN- Comm Co)

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3/7 Marines discover weapons caches during Operation Machete

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Nov. 20, 2005) -- Marines from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, with support from the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion and the local Iraqi Army unit, unearthed the largest cache of hidden insurgent weapons found by the unit near the Euphrates River Nov. 20.

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Combat engineers work with 3/7 to find IEDs

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Dec. 9, 2005) -- Marines from Company C, 1st Combat Engineers Battalion, recently accompanied Combined Anti-Armor Team White on a raid Nov.1 to search local businesses for weapons caches and insurgent information. (3/7 and 1st CEB)

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Marines in Iraq reflect on Thanksgiving Day

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq (Dec. 9, 2005) -- Across Iraq, service members celebrated Thanksgiving Day with turkey served in chow halls, turkey meals-ready-to-eat for those outside of bases, and services commemorating an event older than the United States itself. For some, it was a time to remember their families and friends back home, for others who were recently involved in combat against insurgents during Operation Steel Curtain, it was a moment to reflect and give thanks. (2/1)

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New Movie needs OUR help! Make Peace or Die: The First Days of War in Iraq with 1/5

MOVIE: Make Peace or Die: The First Days of War in Iraq with 1st Battalion 5th Marines

INTRO:
March 2003 - Thousands of troops are massed on the border of Iraq poised for war. Among the first to cross the line of departure is one of the most decorated units in the American military having served since World War I: First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment. The Marine Corps infantry unit known as “1/5” (one-five) carries to battle a flag with its salient motto, “Make Peace or Die.”

Show your support and help make this film public.

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"Wishes from Home" Talking Holiday Card

Need a touching, personalized gift for that special loved one overseas?

Talking Holiday Cards is a GREAT idea!- Mail Call never Sounded so good!

Not only is it a great gift idea to send a touch of home to your hero, but it also support a GREAT cause- $1 from every card comes back to MarineParents.com, Inc. for the care package project and $.50 from each card goes to a wounded soldiers organization.

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December 8, 2005

Single Parents

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(Dec. 8, 2005) -- Marines are trained to deploy: Married or single. This includes single parents.

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'It was like "boom!"'

Few Marines rattled, none injured in IED attack (2/2 Golf)

By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, December 9, 2005

KARMAH, Iraq — Walking back from a routine foot patrol, Lance Cpl. Matt Boggs was just outside the gate of his camp when a deafening explosion sent a plume of black smoke hundreds of feet in the air and knocked him flat.

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December 7, 2005

AIEDD Course Improves Explosives Disposal Training

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - The Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal has intensified the training for experienced explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians with the addition of the Advanced Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (AIEDD) Training Facility.

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Iraqi soldiers making strides in training

Battalion in Anbar province ready to begin independent patrols

By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, December 7, 2005

AL KARMAH, Iraq — Cpl. Ricky Gray was leading a patrol of Iraqi army soldiers a few miles east of Fallujah when a large flatbed truck rumbled along a back road toward the troops.

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Hagee visits Marines in Ramadi

RAMADI, Iraq — Marine Commandant Gen. Mike Hagee dropped in on the leathernecks of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines today, in a visit to what a top commander here calls “the most dangerous place in Iraq.”

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December 6, 2005

Patrolling Haqlaniyah


On patrol with the Raiders of Kilo Company in Haqlaniyah

HAQLANIYAH, IRAQ: The drive from Haditha Dam to Haglaniyah was fast and furious. The night starts with a ride in the back of an open 7 ton transport with a crew from Sky News and a team of Marines. The convoy roared down the roads at high speed during the night in blackout conditions, making turns a truck that large had no right making. The trip from the dam to Raider Nation, the foward position of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion,1st Marines, was low key save some interesting driving.

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Looking on the Bright Side

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A Baton Rouge, La. native was presented the Purple Heart Medal here Nov. 30 for injuries he suffered while deployed to Iraq in September. (2/2 Marine)

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U.S.-Iraq Operation Rams targets insurgents

Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, December 6, 2005

BAGHDAD — More than 500 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers have launched Operation Rams, the latest in a series of “disruption operations” targeting entrenched insurgents in the western Iraq city of Ramadi, the U.S. military said Monday.

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December 5, 2005

Rumsfeld: Quitting Is No Option in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2005 – Quitting in Iraq before the mission is finished would be an invitation to more terrorist violence against the United States, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today.

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Corps of Engineers Restructures Contracting Support in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2005 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has changed the way it administers contracts for rebuilding Iraq, officials said.

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Marines trying to establish viable police force in Karmah

Police officers were killed by insurgents in previous effort

By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, December 5, 2005

KARMAH, Iraq — Even the police are scared in this mostly Sunni city just a few miles east of Fallujah.

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A makeshift hunt for IEDs in Iraq

NEW OBAEIDI, IRAQ - Lance Cpl. Michael Piacentini bends down, carefully removes a burlap sack and starts gently probing a mound of sand underneath with the blade of his six-inch steel knife.

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December 4, 2005

National Security Adviser Outlines Progress in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2005 – The U.S. is already on the road to complete victory in Iraq, the president's national security adviser told Sunday talk show hosts today.

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U.S. Forces Try New Approach: Raid and Dig In

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 4 - Marines staked their claim to the abandoned youth center in Husayba last month with a Hellfire missile and two tank rounds that destroyed a corner of the building and part of the roof. (3/6)

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End of operations

Operation Matraqa Hadidia (Iron Hammer) is in its final stages with the completion of construction of a long-term basing in the Hai Al Becker region on the eastern side of the Euphrates River across from Hit and approximately 170 km west of Baghdad.

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December 3, 2005

3/7 finishes Operation Shank

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Dec. 3, 2005) -- Marines from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment recently worked with Iraqi Army soldiers during Operation Shank in an effort to decrease the insurgent threat before the upcoming elections.

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One Iraq Operation Ends, Another in Final Stages

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2005 – Operation Shank wrapped up today, officials in Iraq announced.

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Ten Marines killed in Iraq were from Southern California base

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Ten Marines who were killed by a bomb blast in Iraq were part of an expeditionary force based in this Southern California desert base, the Pentagon said Saturday.

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December 2, 2005

Operation Shank begins in Ramadi

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq — Approximately 200 Iraqi Army soldiers from 1st Brigade, 7th Division and 300 Marines from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, launched Operation Harba (Shank) today in Ar Ramadi.

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Bomb Kills 10 Marines, Wounds 11 More in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Dec. 2) - Ten Marines were killed and 11 wounded by a roadside bomb near Fallujah, Iraq, in one of the deadliest attacks on American troops in recent months, the Marine Corps announced on Friday. A brief statement said the Marines were from Regimental Combat Team 8, of the 2nd Marine Division.

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10 U.S. Marines killed in bombing near Fallujah

11 others wounded in Thursday’s attack in insurgent stronghold

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Ten U.S. Marines conducting a foot patrol outside the Iraqi city of Fallujah were killed by a roadside bombing, the U.S. Marines announced Friday. The attack is one of the deadliest against U.S. troops in Iraq in recent months.

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Finding hidden caches can be an art form

AL AMIRIYAH, Iraq -- U.S. soldiers steeled themselves to the hot desert wind that stung their eyes, parched their throats and added grit to their sweat-drenched bodies. (2nd AAB)

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December 1, 2005

Iraqis Will Have Secure Voting Environment, General Says

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2005 – The success of joint Iraqi and coalition operations in Iraq will ensure a safe voting environment for Iraqi national elections, a senior military official in Iraq said today.

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Officials celebrate Iraqi troops' growing role in securing border

HUSABA, Iraq - On a sandy soccer field guarded by snipers on nearby rooftops, just miles from Iraq's menacing border with Syria, U.S. and Iraqi forces on Wednesday celebrated what they considered progress: Iraqi forces gradually getting better at securing the border and the nearby towns.

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U.S., Iraqi forces launch offensive near Hit

Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, December 1, 2005

More than 2,500 U.S. and Iraqi troops launched an offensive near the Euphrates River city of Hit, hoping to clear an area “not typically patrolled by Iraqi and U.S. forces,” officials said Wednesday.

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Soldiers, Marines in Iraq not surprised by Bush's speech

By Anita Powell and Monte Morin, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, December 1, 2005

BAGHDAD — About 10 minutes after the chow hall opened for dinner Wednesday, soldiers and contractors were filling the place. In one corner, a television tuned to the British Broadcasting Corp. was showing live coverage of President Bush’s speech from Annapolis, Md.

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A real survivor

Whitefish Marine tells story of being wounded in Iraq
Sgt. Caleb Pleasants watched a bullet ricochet off a ledge, then hit a wall and fall to the ground in a desert town near the Syrian border. (13th MEU Marine)

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Operation Iron Hammer Begins, East of Hit, Iraq

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Marines, Sailors and Soldiers began operations near Hit in the Hai Al Becker region. (13th MEU)

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New Campaign Vs. Iraq Insurgents Begins

BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi troops launched an operation in western Iraq to clear insurgents from a suspected safe area used to make car and roadside bombs, the military said Wednesday. (13th MEU)

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EOD, Engineers stay ‘Untouchable’ in Iraq

AL ASAD, Iraq (Dec. 1, 2005) -- In the air Wing, combat engineers don’t normally work a great deal with explosives. But, in Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, a detachment of combat engineers is working with the Untouchables’ explosive ordnance disposal Marines to change that.

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24th MEU on move again

The Marines and sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit face the prospect of going anywhere when they deploy - no corner of the globe, no snow-capped peak, sprawling city or dust-blown desert is off limits (1/8)

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Ramadi Insurgents Flaunt Threat

U.S. Dismisses Reported Display Of Force as Hype

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Tensions High in Ramadi

BAGHDAD, Dec. 1 -- Tensions were high Thursday in the heavily insurgent western city of Ramadi, after officials and residents said about 250 armed fighters had held the streets for several hours after daylight. The U.S. military adamantly denied the reports.

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Insurgents attack town

BAGHDAD (AP) - Insurgents attacked several U.S. bases and government offices with mortars and rockets Thursday before dispersing in the capital of western Iraq's Anbar province.

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U.S. servicemembers in Iraq reflect on stateside war debate

By Joseph Giordono, Anita Powell, Monte Morin and Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, December 1, 2005

BAGHDAD — On the same day U.S. Rep. John Murtha sparked a renewed political debate over the war in Iraq, more than a thousand U.S. Marines were pushing through booby-trapped houses in the border town of Obeidi.

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Desert Dental fights tooth decay


CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Dec. 1, 2005) -- There are a small group of warriors here whose weapons aren’t your typical M-16A2 service rifle, but tools that protect just as well. Their enemy is a small one. (2nd MLG)

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November 30, 2005

Local Marine makes the best of holiday in Iraq, misses life on home front


FRANKLIN COUNTY — Marines serving in Iraq might have been fed well on Thanksgiving, but holidays in a war zone are just another day closer to going home, according to Pfc. Ashley Graybill, an ammo specialist from Franklin County stationed in Iraq.

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November 29, 2005

Two Soldiers Killed, One Injured in Separate Incidents

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2005 – Two Task Force Baghdad soldiers were killed when their patrol struck a roadside bomb north of Baghdad today, military officials reported.

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Iraqi Security Forces Steadily Improving, But Still Need Support

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2005 – U.S. and coalition initiatives to create well-trained and -equipped Iraqi security forces are paying off, with Iraqis taking on more of the fight, a U.S. Central Command general said Nov. 28 at the Heritage Foundation here.

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November 28, 2005

The Iraq War: Another View

Although the national media provides everyone with up-to-the-minute news of all the attacks, bombings, and other horrors of combat in Iraq and in Afghanistan, there are other facets of the effort to help the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as of the support provided to our troops in combat, which don’t get the coverage they deserve. That is the purpose of this column, in which information from various other sources will be presented.

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Four best friends to serve in Iraq together

When Marine reservist Daniel Bowman volunteered to serve in Iraq with another platoon, his three best friends in Gainesville were worried.

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