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RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 4, 2008) Marines of 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, make a stop at a Provincial Security Forces checkpoint Oct. 3, while helping Marines of 2nd Bn., 9th Marines become acquainted with the area of operations they will be covering during their seven month deployment. (Official Marine Corps photo by LCpl. Jerry Murphy) (Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jerry Murphy

‘Trading Spaces’; Camp Lejeune units pass torch in Iraq

4 Oct 2008 | Lance Cpl. Jerry Murphy

 RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 4, 2008) – With the dust settling on their seven-month deployment, Marines of 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team, 1 are handing over their area of operations in Ramadi, Iraq, to 2nd Bn., 9th Marines.

 The last few days of the battalion’s deployment before returning to their home base at Camp Lejeune, N.C., are dedicated to helping their sister unit become familiar with the AO.

 “They (1st Bn., 9th Marines) are definitely making it an easy transition for us,” said Cpl. Glen A. Brannen, a 21-year-old squad leader from Statesborough, Ga., with Company G, 2nd Bn., 9th Marines. “They’re more than willing to help us in every way and are making sure any questions we have for them are answered to the best of their ability.”

 The departing Marines may be excited to return home, but their job is not finished. They must first ensure their replacements are ready to take over the battle space and build on their own accomplishments.

“The (2nd Bn., 9th Marines) guys are picking our brains, asking as many questions as they can in the little time we have together,” said Cpl. Justin M. Moreau, a 25-year-old squad leader with Company C, 1st Bn., 9th Marines.

During a mission Oct. 3, Marines with Company C, 1st Bn., 9th Marines, took their 2nd Bn., 9th Marines counterparts to Provincial Security Forces checkpoints along a well-traveled highway in Ramadi.

“We took them to all the PSF checkpoints we have been working at for the last seven months,” said Lance Cpl. Will M. Hill, a machine gunner from Brookehaven, Miss., with Company C, 1st Bn., 9th Marines. “It gives them a better feel for the AO and lets them know which entry control points are manned by PSF.”

Moreau said knowing the difference between the streets of North Carolina and the streets of Ramadi is essential to a successful tour in Iraq.

“It’s important that the Marines with (2nd Bn., 9th Marines) know the cultural differences between us and the Iraqis,” said Moreau, a native of Marksville, Calif. “It’s easy to be respectful, but understanding the cultural difference helps gain the respect of the Iraqi people.”

With their deployment nearing its end and their relieving unit’s deployment just beginning, Marines of 1st Bn., 9th Marines, are confident in the advice they have given to their sister unit.

“I think we’ve done a good job of giving them the tools they need to have a successful tour over here,” Hill said.