HIT, Iraq --
Marines with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 conducted a patrol to introduce Marines from Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment to key leaders in the area of operations that the battalion will inherit.
“The purpose of the patrol was to introduce the incoming Marines to Sheik Khalif Awwad Farhan, who is the primary sheik for the towns of Abutiban and Asiriyah,” said Capt. Scott J. Anderson, 31, company commander, Company L, 3rd Bn., 4th Marines, from Reno, Nev. “He also has a lot of ties to the government in Baghdad.”
When the Marines arrived at the sheik’s home, they were greeted warmly and invited into the home. Marines with 3rd Bn.,7th Marines have had similar welcomes from other sheiks and community leaders since arriving in Iraq.
“The sheiks have been disappointed that their friends of six months are leaving,” said Capt. Seth W. MacCutcheon, 33, company commander, Company L, 3rd Bn., 7th Marines, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “They understand our cycle of (deployments), and they’ve given us a warm welcome.”
After the introductions were made, the Marines and Iraqi leaders discussed the progress made in the city. They also talked about the security in the area and how the Iraqi Police are doing.
“Both the operations officer and the company commander were there, so they were brought up to speed on the happenings in the area,” Anderson said. “They can start where we left off. We built relationships with the sheiks, so they have an opportunity to do better in the area than we did because they have those relationships established.”
Sheik Khalif and the Marines took a break in the middle of their conversation to dine on some Iraqi cuisine, which consisted of rice, lamb, watermelon and vegetables. Sharing a meal with the sheik and other leaders is a sign of good relations.
“The sheiks have a very important role,” MacCutcheon said. “They are a part of the culture so they have a large influence in the community.”
The Marines with 3rd Bn., 7th Marines believe that 3rd Bn., 4th Marines has given them a strong foundation to work on and are looking forward to making even more progress here.
“We want to make the government function more effectively while we’re here,” MacCutcheon said, “and we want to help the commerce get going. There are also still a few bad guys around, so we want to help the IP identify them and get rid of them completely.”