Marines from Camp Hansen to relieve comrades in Iraq
August 24, 2006
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa — The more than 400 Marines deploying to Iraq this week are well-prepared for their mission, said military leaders Tuesday.
Marines from 9th Engineer Support Battalion began deploying earlier this week and the last are scheduled to leave by Friday for Anbar province in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Mark Mienotti, the battalion’s commanding officer.
The deploying Marines are doing a swap with about 300 Marines, also from the battalion, who deployed to the same area in Iraq in late February, Mienotti said.
The two halves of the battalion are to transfer authority for the area, which will take about 30 days.
Then the 300 Marines are to return to Okinawa in late September, he said.
While attached to 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, Gulfport, Miss., the 9th ESB Marines will do “horizontal and vertical construction,” Mienotti said.
Horizontal construction will include repairing, improving and building roads and finding and rendering harmless improvised explosive devices, he said.
Vertical construction will include the occasional mission to repair structures such as schools, he said, adding that as needed, Marines also will be called upon to build temporary bases for Iraqi Security Forces.
The 400 Marines “are prepared for this deployment and have done a lot of training, especially [at Camp] Fuji,” he said.
The battalion sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Donovan White, cited a laundry list of warfighting skills learned at Camp Fuji and honed at Camp Hansen to prepare them for Iraq, including convoy operations, entry-control points, vehicle-control points, immediate-action drills, fire and maneuver tactics, fire team and squad tactics, rules of engagement, law of war, escalation of force and enhanced marksmanship.
“Their families can rest assured that their Marines and sailors will be well taken care of, well led and … well trained to do the mission,” White said.
Cpl. Nicole L. Hammerle, 22, from New Era, Mich., who has been in the Marine Corps about two and a half years, said the training at Camp Fuji “pretty much just got us into the combat mind-set. I know we are all ready; 9th ESB has done an outstanding job preparing us for this.”
That readiness cannot be attributed entirely to senior leaders, said Mienotti.
“The corporals of this battalion are really stepping up and showing clear and resolute leadership,” he said. “That has really helped tie the unit together.”