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General James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks with Col. Lewis A. Craparotta, commanding officer, Regimental Combat Team 1, during a visit to Camp Fallujah, Iraq, Aug. 16. During his visit, the Commandant evaluated progress being made in al-Anbar and discussed security with several members of the Iraqi Army. He also took time to speak with service members at the Chapel of Hope aboard the camp. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Chris T. Mann)

Photo by Cpl. Chris T. Mann

CMC visits Camp Fallujah; speaks about progress

16 Aug 2008 | Cpl. Chris T. Mann

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Aug. 16, 2008) – General James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, visited service members and toured the local battlefield shared by Marine units of Regimental Combat Team 1 Aug. 16.

 During his visit, the Commandant spoke with Col. Lewis A. Craparotta, commanding officer, RCT-1, and surveyed progress service members are making in Fallujah and the surrounding regions.

“I don’t think anyone would have predicted that the al-Anbar Province would become a model for elsewhere in the nation,” said Conway, during a town hall meeting aboard the camp.

 In the morning, Conway and Craparotta convoyed with a group of Marines from Camp Fallujah to Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi, where he met with several commanders and other staff to discuss joint efforts between service members and Iraqi Police and Army.
Afterwards, they had lunch with members of the Iraqi Army and spoke with several of their senior leadership officials about security throughout the region.

 Following the meeting with IA officials, Conway returned to Camp Fallujah for a town hall meeting at the Chapel of Hope. Marines and other service members aboard Camp Fallujah packed tightly into the chapel to listen to what he and Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, had to say.

The Commandant delivered a message to Marines and other service members about developments in the region.

“What you have today is a very likeable condition in the al-Anbar Province, and again, that is good remarks for the rest of Iraq,” he said.

Conway also spoke to the crowd about repeated deployments to combat environments Marines are currently facing today. He said he is pushing for longer periods of time for Marines to stay in the United States before deploying again to places like Iraq or Afghanistan.

After Conway and Kent addressed the service members, they opened the floor for questions.

Marines in the crowd took the opportunity to inquire about numerous issues ranging from the new Marine Corps physical training uniform and the Combat Fitness Test, to how November’s presidential election result might effect future deployments.

 Conway closed by thanking the service members for their continued efforts and service in Iraq, and reminded those present remain vigilant and stay alert.

“This is still a dangerous place; you are still drawing combat pay,” said Conway. “You can still get killed out here if you don’t go about your business in a serious fashion on a day-to-day basis.”