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CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (August 3, 2008) – Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills (center), Ground Combat Element Commander, Multi National Force – West, walks with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, staff during his visit Sept. 3. Mills met with the battalion’s command and staff, to discuss progress and the transition of authority to Iraqi-led operations. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

MNF-W leadership visits Camp Habbaniyah

3 Sep 2008 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (September 3, 2008) – Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, ground combat element commander, Multi National Force – West, spent the day with Marines of  Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, at Camp Habbaniyah Sept. 3.

 During his visit, Mills met with the battalion’s staff to discuss current operations, particularly the battalion’s continued progress on the transition to Iraqi-led operations. This was also an opportunity for the battalion to brief the general about future plans for the region.

 Mills presented two schools of thought on the subject; Iraqis will either slowly grasp the responsibility of Provincial Iraqi Control, but still require support from Coalition Forces, or they will run with the opportunity and become self-sufficient.

 “We must progressively move Iraqis to a role of leadership,” Mills explained. “Our drive must be to support the process.”

 Mills added that 1st Bn., 2nd Marines will be the first to “feel the vibes” of transition.

  The general toured the camp after his brief, being sure to stop and talk with each Marine he passed.

 Both Mills and Sgt. Maj. Larock W. Benford, ground combat element sergeant major, talked with groups of motor transport and combat engineer Marines, thanking each of them for their service.

 Mills joined Marines for lunch, offering them the chance to voice some of their concerns as well as talk about his favorite football team. After much football debate, Mills presented the leathernecks with a coveted GCE commander coin.

 Mills left the battalion with the knowledge that their leaders are proud of them. Mills understands the Marines’ jobs are not easy.

 “If you were battling it out everyday, your job would be easy…you wake up each day knowing what’s going to happen,” explained Mills. “In your situation, you can not become complacent because the transition is going so well, and that’s hard.”