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Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commanding general, Multi-National Corps Iraq, speaks with Cpl. Michael Samuel, an administration clerk from Tuscaloosa, Ala., with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, during a holiday visit to Camp Baharia in Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 25.

Photo by Cpl. Chris T. Mann

MNC-I commander makes holiday visit

25 Dec 2008 | Cpl. Chris T. Mann

Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the commanding general of Multi-National Corps Iraq, visited Marines and Sailors with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, at Camp Baharia in Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 25.

 The commander arrived to the camp in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for the first of several stops at camps throughout Iraq to speak and visit with service members during the holidays.

 Austin recognized the Marines, Soldiers and Sailors at the camp for their achievements over the past few months.

 “I just want to say thank you for all that hard work that you do out here,” said Austin. “We have a lot of experienced military members out here, and you are making great progress and using the experience you have gained to move forward.”

 Austin also joined Lt. Col. Chris Hastings, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, in recognizing nine service members during a formation held behind the battalion’s command operating center.

Two Marines with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines; one Marine with Combat Logistic Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group; and six service members with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines were all acknowledged for various exemplary actions.

 “This was a great opportunity today for several of the Marines to speak with the individual in charge of all combat forces in Iraq and know that others are thinking about them during the holiday,” said Hastings. “We also recognize the sacrifice that all of our families back home are making on a daily basis.”

 Cpl. Ryan Marshall, a motor transportation operator from Winnemucca, Nev., with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, was among those recognized.  

“It was pretty motivating to see him come out here for Christmas and just say a few words to us,” said Cpl. William W. Decostanza an optics technician with Headquarters Company, 1/4, from Hallsville, Texas.

Austin took on his current position Feb. 15 and has been working with Marines and service members in Iraq over the past few months to transition to a position of overwatch and give control of security to Iraqi forces.