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Curtis T. Rinker Building opens at Korean Village

US Marine Corps News

6/29/2008 By Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson, Regimental Combat Team 5

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq — A new internet and phone center for service members to communicate with their families enjoyed a grand opening here June 28.

Service members gathered around to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by Lt. Col. Russell E. Smith, 43, commanding officer, 2nd Light Amored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, for the new Curtis T. Rinker Building.

“It was a perfect idea to build a new center because there was limited phones and computers (here before), but now we don’t have to wait as long,” said Pfc. Brian D. Ahern, a field radio operator with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd LAR. “It’s a great way to contact family and friends.”

The new internet and phone center was named after Gunnery Sgt. Curtis T. Rinker, 36, company gunnery sergeant, H&S Co., because of his hard work building the center, which took about a month to complete. Rinker, who is from Red Bake, N.J., was helped by Cpl. Mehmet S. Bayar, 22, from Orlando, Fla., and Cpl. Jacques P. Duplantis, 24, from Houma, La., who are both company clerks with H&S Co.

“This was Gunnery Sgt. Rinker’s (hard work),” said Smith, from Rochester, N.H., before cutting the ribbon. “I know that this building will be here for a while, and service members are going to contact their families better because of his efforts.”

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Pfc. Jonathan R. Payton, 20, a motor vehicle operator with H&S Company, and Ahern, had the pleasure of being the first to sign the log book of the new phone center. The signing represented the Marine Corps tradition of placing junior Marines first.

“I was honored that I got to help open the new center,” said Ahern, 22, from Olympia, Wash. “I’ve never had an opportunity do something like that. It was pretty cool.”

The service members toured the new center, which now has more than 16 computers and 10 phones. Upon entering the building, service members were greeted by a large “2D LAR” painted on the floor.

“It’s a sense of mission accomplishment knowing that we’re able to get the job done building this new center,” said Duplantis. “I take care of junior Marines before myself, and I’m glad to help Marines communicate with their families.”

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