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Civil Affairs provides medical aid escorts Iraqis to medical facility

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200552774034
Story by Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

CAMP DELTA, Iraq (May 27, 2005) -- The siren went off at the medical facility down the road and the Marines from 5th Civil Affairs Group, working with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment quickly put their gear on and headed out into the night knowing one of the citizens needed aid.

Marines in a Civil-Military Operations Center provided convoy security for the local ambulance drivers who made stops at Iraqi homes for patients in need of urgent medical care.

“We took the ambulances to the people who needed help and I was one of the Marines who provided security during the escorts,” said Lance Cpl. John E. Fleming, a motor transportation operator and Salisbury, Md., native working with the CAG.

The ambulance security was part of Operation Clear Decision, an operation consisting of cordon and knock missions to root out weapons caches and insurgents throughout the city. The ambulance security allowed local citizens – who were concerned with traveling to medical facilities during the operation – to be transported to hospitals and medical facilities in an expedient manner.

The siren signaling the first medical run was also a herald for the future. Medical cases requiring escort through the city by the CAG Marines increased as the operation continued.

As word of the ambulance escort spread, more people came to the medical facility in need of medical attention. Some needed to be moved to a hospital and were seen by the local doctor.

“I am one of the Marines who drives and provides security when we are out in the cities doing our jobs,” said the 2003 Parkside High School graduate. “Being a reservist, I volunteered to go with CAG when they deployed here.”

Fleming and the rest of the Marines in the group pushed forward as the escorts continued in to the morning hours. Many of the houses that had patients were spread throughout the city and it took much of the morning to get the patients escorted to where they needed to go.

After completing the escorts, the Marines returned to the CMOC where they formed a group that handed out soccer balls to children. The Marines then walked the streets to speak with adults about other services the CMOC provided during Operation Clear Decision.

Maj. Mark Fuller, Team 2 commander, Detachment 2, 5th CAG and his Marines walked through the somewhat empty streets stopping to spread the word about the medical aid, claims assistance, and food service available at the CMOC

When Fuller and his Marines came across children along their patrol route, they would give them toys and soccer balls.

“Giving out soccer balls and toys to the children is a fun thing to do,” Fleming said. “I enjoy getting out and doing things like that. I love being in the Marine Corps and getting to be here doing our job.”


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