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Don Cazayoux a Representative from Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District, listens to Staff Sgt. Thaddeus J. Williams (left) and Cpl. Brandon W. Dion, during lunch with Marines selected from their home states. Both Marines are New Orleans natives assigned to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. James M. Mercure)

Photo by Cpl. James M. Mercure

Visiting Congressmen praise TF 2/7 Marines for Afghan service

9 Sep 2008 | Cpl. James M. Mercure

CAMP BARBER, Afghanistan – U.S. Congressional Delegates and the House Armed Services Committee traveled to Camp Barber Aug. 31, to visit with service members assigned to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, part of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix. 

The Congressmen praised TF 2/7 for its combat performance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

 “Everyone I’ve met is doing their best to keep this country’s head above water,” said Joe Donnelly, a Representative from Indiana’s Second Congressional District. “Unless you come out
here, it’s hard to understand the depth of what these young men and women are going through for the Afghan people and for America.”

   They met with Marines from their home states to hear from them on a range on issues. 

 “Having a representative from back home come out here and show they care about what we’re doing was a huge morale boost,” said Cpl. Brandon W. Dion, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of legal/administration and New Orleans native.

Later, they looked over Marine equipment, tactical gear and vehicles in order to learn more about how they are training and mentoring the Afghan National Police.

“I’m impressed with the gear the Marines are winning this fight with,’ said Steve King, a Representative from Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District, who joked with the Marines and asked if they had any issues with equipment they wanted him to take back to Congress.

Although the Marines proudly displayed their equipment, the challenges they are facing here in Afghanistan were also noted by other Representatives.

“During the demonstration, we saw a lot of really great ways these young men and women are overcoming the obstacles of this current fight,” said Don Cazayoux, a Representative from Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District. “We also saw some of the deficiencies that they are working around.  We will take what we’ve learned back to Congress to try and fix that.”

Staff Sgt. Thaddeus J. Williams, telecommunications chief and New Orleans native, said it was good to actually sit down and talk face-to-face with the Representatives.

“It was good somebody that represented my state came out here,” Staff Sgt. Williams said. “We got to know him beyond the TV and podium, and he got to see the battlefield from our perspective.  I think this visit will help shape his view on our current situation here.”

Before departing, they received an operations briefing and had an opportunity to deliver their own remarks.

“Their courage makes me so proud,” Donnelly said. “They are modest, hard-working and fierce warriors.  We are very, very lucky to have them… we are truly in debt to the men and women serving out here.”

“The finest in Marine tradition is right here,” Donnelly said.

Comprised of more than 1,200 Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen and civilian contractors who specialize in police operations, TF 2/7 is currently operating in the Helmand and Farah provinces of Afghanistan. 

Since its arrival in early April, TF 2/7’s mission has been to conduct full spectrum and counterinsurgency operations with a focus on police training and mentoring within assigned boundaries in order to set the conditions for the successful integration and future assumption of authority by the Afghanistan National Police, and to extend the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan authority and influence over security, and regional development.