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5th Civil Affairs Group begins tour of duty

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - The 5th Civil Affairs Group officially started its tour of duty in Iraq when the commanding officer and sergeant major unfurled the unit's colors at a transfer of authority ceremony with the 4th CAG March 10.

Col. Steve McKinley, 5th CAG commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. John A. Ellis stood at attention as the 4th CAG commander and sergeant major cased their unit's colors at the old base theater.

"A strategic victory is still not settled, but it's close," said Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, I Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general, who spoke to the CAG Marines and Sailors at the event. "I challenge the 5th CAG as I challenged the 4th."

Sattler thanked Col. John R. Ballard, 4th CAG commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Joseph A. Staudt for leading their Marines and Sailors over the past seven months and pointed out their major accomplishments, such as helping to establish the Civil Military Operations Center in Fallujah.

"Fourth CAG was the one that made things happen," Sattler said. "Thanks to 4th CAG. You cased your colors here, but you can uncase them when you get home and hold it higher."

Ballard thanked his Marines after the general spoke and said the Iraqis appreciated the Marines helping them get started on reconstruction projects.

"We were very lucky," Ballard said. "We did exactly what we were trained and meant to do."

The 5th CAG will operate in the Al-Anbar Province of Iraq and has been working with the 4th CAG for the nearly a month to ensure a seamless transition of current civil affairs projects.

"We are going to go out and get the job done," McKinley said.

For more information, please contact Capt. Julianne H. Sohn, public affairs officer, 5th Civil Affairs Group, at sohnjh@cemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil.

Release #050311a

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