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Cpl. Michael Thorpe, 24, a motor transport refueler, laughs at one of his fellow Marines as he attaches his bayonet to his rifle before turning in the weapon Thursday at the armory on Camp Foster. Thorpe and more than 200 other Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 4 had just returned from a seven-month deployment to the Anbar region of Iraq.

Cpl. Michael Thorpe, 24, a motor transport refueler, laughs at one of his fellow Marines as he attaches his bayonet to his rifle before turning in the weapon Thursday at the armory on Camp Foster. Thorpe and more than 200 other Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 4 had just returned from a seven-month deployment to the Anbar region of Iraq. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Cpl. Michael Thorpe, 24, a motor transport refueler, laughs at one of his fellow Marines as he attaches his bayonet to his rifle before turning in the weapon Thursday at the armory on Camp Foster. Thorpe and more than 200 other Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 4 had just returned from a seven-month deployment to the Anbar region of Iraq.

Cpl. Michael Thorpe, 24, a motor transport refueler, laughs at one of his fellow Marines as he attaches his bayonet to his rifle before turning in the weapon Thursday at the armory on Camp Foster. Thorpe and more than 200 other Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 4 had just returned from a seven-month deployment to the Anbar region of Iraq. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Some of the Marines returning from a seven-month Iraq deployment said the environment on the ground wasn’t as intense as anticipated.

Some of the Marines returning from a seven-month Iraq deployment said the environment on the ground wasn’t as intense as anticipated. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — More than 200 Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 4 returned Thursday from a seven-month tour in the Anbar region of Iraq.

The returning troops, mostly with the battalion’s Motor Transport Company and Security Company, were among more than 600 who deployed in August.

Small advance parties of Marines have been returning to Okinawa since mid-February and the remaining troops are slated to return over the next few weeks, said 1st Lt. Veronica ConnollyMcDowell, who helped coordinate Thursday’s return.

In Iraq, the battalion operated mainly out of Al Asad, but had troops at Camp Korean Village, Qaim and Haditha Dam, she said.

The battalion directly supported Regimental Combat Team 2, delivering food, water and gear, and providing transport, convoys and security, according to Marine reports.

It also supported Multi-National Force–West units throughout western Anbar province over an area spanning about 50,000 square miles, ConnollyMcDowell said.

The deployment was “pretty good” and “it flew by,” said Cpl. Rayyan Mehdi, 21, a security vehicle commander.

That might have been because there were a “lot of convoys, a lot of convoys,” according to Mehdi, who said he participated in 75 convoys.

This was Cpl. Michael Thorpe’s second deployment to Iraq and he found it a little different from his first trip.

“It was a lot better, a lot calmer out there,” said Thorpe, 24, a motor transport refueler. The one thing about this deployment that Thorpe said he will remember most is the camaraderie he built with his platoon mates.

For Staff Sgt. Michael Stephens, who had not previously been to Iraq, the deployment was not what he expected.

“In training, they threw every possible scenario at us,” the radio chief said. “The work-ups made it seem like it was going to be so intense.”

All that training ensured that Marines performed flawlessly, said 1st Lt. Kassie Babin, 25, a convoy and platoon commander.

“They always had each other’s back,” she said.

The hardest part of the deployment for her was turning the mission over to their replacement, the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based Combat Logistics Battalion 6.

“We did it so well, we had it down to an art,” she said. “Watching new people do our mission, that had been ours for the last seven months, was hard.”

This deployment, gaining experience leading Marines in tactical situations, has made her a better leader, Babin said.

If she could have the same job, she said, “I would go back in a heartbeat.”

By the numbers

During Combat Logistics Battalion 4’s seven-month deployment in the Anbar region of Iraq, the battalion provided logistical support to a regimental combat team at Al Asad and various forward operating bases in an area covering about 50,000 square miles. During that time, the battalion conducted:

More than 240 logistical resupply convoysMore than 110 security patrolsMore than 45 helicopter missionsTwo air delivery missionsMore than 90 security escorts for explosive ordnance disposal missionsMore than 20 vehicle recovery missionsSource: U.S. Marine Corps

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