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3/4 returns to Iraq for third time

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200512231657
Story by Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.

CAMP ABU GHURAYB, Iraq (Jan. 20, 2005) -- The first Marine battalion into Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom, who tore down the statue of Saddam and spearheaded Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah, has landed once again in familiar territory.

More than 700 Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, have arrived to support operations in Iraq for a third time.

“We’re the only (Marine infantry) battalion to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom three times,” said Cpl. Benjamin B. Earhart, a 22-year-old Marine from Colorado Springs, Col., who serves as an intelligence clerk for 3/4.

This third deployment, coming only five months after the battalion returned from Iraq for a second time, is seen as a testament of 3/4's renowned service.

“I think this early deployment speaks for itself,” said Staff Sgt. George A. Rogers, 28, a Zebulon, N. C., native who serves as the battalion intelligence chief. “3/4 has a reputation over there.”

The battalion has settled in around Fallujah, taking over areas of operation for 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

“Our mission here is to keep the city safe, continue stabilization and prevent (insurgents) from getting back in,” said Lt. Col. Andrew R. Kennedy, battalion commander.

“We’re not expecting too many combat operations,” Rogers said.

Despite the stresses of taking over the operations of multiple battalions and the ever-present threat of attack, 3/4 is confident in its ability to get the job done.

“I think 3/4 will continue to do what 3/4 does,” Rogers said, “and that’s get the mission done.”

“I don’t worry about these guys,” Kennedy said. “They are professionals.”

The ‘professionals’ of 3/4 suffered less than 70 casualties in its first two deployments to OIF.

Although practically none of the Marines are concerned about being back in Iraq, some Marines and their families do wonder about how long this one will be, Kennedy said.

“My Marines will be here for seven months,” Kennedy said, “I’m confident it will be just that.”

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