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Lance Cpl. Mark Skorup, a rifleman with the Hawaii-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, rappels down a rock face during training at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif. The battalion practiced mountain warfare techniques prior to deploying to Afghanistan last week.

Lance Cpl. Mark Skorup, a rifleman with the Hawaii-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, rappels down a rock face during training at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif. The battalion practiced mountain warfare techniques prior to deploying to Afghanistan last week. (Rich Mattingly / Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Pacific Marines continue to be deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The latest regiment to get the call is the Hawaii-based Marines and sailors of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which landed in Afghanistan last week after training in California, according to a Marine Corps news release.

The 1,000-strong regiment is part of the 3rd Marine Division, headquartered on Okinawa. According to the release, the regiment is to relieve the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, which is to return to Camp Lejeune.

The regiment left for Afghanistan after a training in the Southern California desert, the high Sierra Mountains and a special scenario-based training facility in San Diego.

“We’ve trained hard for this deployment,” Lt. Col. Norm Cooling, the battalion’s commanding officer, said upon landing. “I’m very proud of my Marines and sailors here on the far reaches of the world and am confident in their abilities to help the local population and destroy the anti-coalition forces that seek to enslave the Afghani people.

“We’re here to further freedom and democracy,” he said upon landing.

The battalion is expected to be deployed for about seven months, mostly in the central and southeastern areas of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan, a mountainous region with strong pockets of Taliban insurgents still operating.

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