CAMP RIPPER, Iraq -- The Marines of Company B, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7, are heading back to the United States after their deployment to the western Al Anbar Province. The Marines completed their duty and now hand over the reigns to Company C, 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion.
During a farewell ceremony Oct. 2, Colonel Craig A. Tucker, commanding officer of RCT-7, thanked the Marines for their hard work. The unit conducted various missions in the province often operating outside of their occupational specialties.
In addition to supporting the movement of troops throughout the province, conducting counter rocket and counter mortar patrols, cordon and knocks, security patrols and maintaining supply routes, some of these Marines were made into provisional infantrymen, while others served as instructors at the Al Asad Police Academy.
The Marines looked forward to the opportunity to get out into the community and better the future of Iraq in anyway, according to SSgt. Daniel H. Loyola, 25, a native of Marion, Texas, and a section leader with Company B.
The Marines of Company B completed their deployment without losing any of their Marines. To them this accomplishment makes their time here a major success. Company B contributes its success to their leadership and determination.
"It has been a learning experience for all us," said Lance Cpl. Neufang S. Tsosie, 21, a native of Phoenix. "We have done so well because we have good leaders and Marines that work hard."
The Marines pushed themselves mentally and physically while in the arid desert of Iraq. They also pushed their equipment and supplies, often beyond what the Marines thought possible, according to Sgt. Jared R. Minard, 24, a native of San Diego, and an assistant section leader with Company B.
The Marines had to push themselves everyday to better the future of Iraq, according to Sgt. Jeremy D. Petersen, 27, a native of Gainesville, Fla., and the communication technician chief for the Iraqi Border Police Academy. The Marines worked countless hours training the Iraqis and overcame the language barrier.
The Marines wanted their time in Iraq to have a positive influence on the future of this country.
The unit has formed a close bond that is only achievable through the stress of the hard work they endured. The cohesion of the Marines helped them conduct the varied missions necessary while deployed but now they are ready for home.
"I am ready to go home, it will be awesome to get back to the states, but I would stay out here if needed," said Cpl. Josh G. Hawkins, 26, a native of Kingsville, Texas, and a crew chief with Company B.