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Diwaniyeh [variants: Diwaniyah, Diwaniyan, Diwaniya, Diwanie], a city some 180 kilometers south of Baghdad, is the administrative center of al-Qadissiya Governate. Located in central Iraq, on a branch of the Euphrates River and on the Baghdad-Basra railroad, it is a marketplace for dates and grains.

At the end of 1996, there were 47,400 km of roads in Iraq, of which 40,760 were paved. Most sections of the six-lane 1,264-km international Express Highway, linking Safwan (on the Kuwaiti border) with the Jordanian an Syrian borders, had been completed by June 1990. The Diwaniya-Nasiriya section was expected to be completed in 1993.

In December 2000 the building housing the Ba'ath Party leadership in Diwaniyah Governate was attacked by rebels firing several rockets from their jeep. The regime faced simmering unrest in Diwaniya in previous months. In November 2000 it arrested 50 notables from the southern area. In December it released twenty of the imprisoned men, but it took the remaining thirty into detention in Baghdad.

Camp Anderson

Camp Anderson was located approximately 35 miles South of Baghdad. The Marine's 2nd Medical Battalion moved several times, going north through Iraq, from Breach Point West to Camp Viper to Camp Anderson in Central Iraq to Camp Chesty. Camp Anderson was a depot, where a convoy was involved in a firefight. Over time security was tightened. Camps of Marines, some living in tents, some in foxholes, lined both sides of the road for miles leading up to the fuel bladders. Across from the depot, prisoners of war were being held in a trench. 1st Marine Division Band, Camp Pendleton gave an evening concert for Marines in a camp located at Ad Diwaniyah Iraq, on Sunday 18 May 2003. Marines and Sailors of were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Private First Class Richard B. Anderson, who hurled himself on a live grenade in a shell hole on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, to take the full impact of the explosion and save the lives of three buddies though he knew death for himself was almost certain, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor--the nation's highest military decoration. Roi Island was the first pre-war Japanese territory to fall to Marines. Marine Anderson, a member of the invasion force, was hunting enemy snipers when he chose the shell hole in the center of Roi airfield, for a point of vantage from which to attack Japanese positions. The 22-year-old Marine, who had tattooed on his arm the inscription, "Death Before Dishonor," was evacuated to a ship, where he died of his wounds on February 1, 1944. He was buried at sea with full military honors.

PFC James Anderson was awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a rifleman, Second Platoon, Company F, Second Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine Division, in Vietnam on 28 February 1967. Company F was advancing in dense jungle northwest of Cam Lo in an effort to extract a heavily besieged reconnaissance patrol. Private First Class Anderson's platoon was the lead element and had advanced only about 200 meters when they were brought under extremely intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire. The platoon reacted swiftly, getting on line as best they could in the thick terrain, and began returning fire. Private First Class Anderson found himself tightly bunched together with the other members of the platoon only 20 meters from the enemy positions. As the fire fight continued several of the men were wounded by the deadly enemy assault. Suddenly, an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the Marines and rolled along side Private First Class Anderson's head. Unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, he reached out, grasped the grenade, pulled it to his chest and curled around it as it went off. Although several Marines received shrapnel from the grenade, his body absorbed the major force of the explosion. In this singularly heroic act, Private First Class Anderson saved his comrades from serious injury and possible death. His personal heroism, extraordinary valor, and inspirational supreme self-sacrifice reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Lance Corporal Richard A. Anderson was awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Assistant Fire Team Leader with Company E, Third Reconnaissance Battalion, Third Marine Division, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. While conducting a patrol during the early morning hours of 24 August 1969, Lance Corporal Anderson's reconnaissance team came under a heavy volume of automatic weapons and machine-gun fire from a numerically superior and well-concealed enemy force. Although painfully wounded in both legs and knocked to the ground during the initial moments of the fierce fire fight, Lance Corporal Anderson assumed a prone position and continued to deliver intense suppressive fire in an attempt to repulse the attackers. Moments later he was wounded a second time by an enemy soldier who had approached to within eight feet of the team's position. Undaunted, he continued to pour a relentless stream of fire at the assaulting unit, even while a companion was treating his legs wounds. Observing an enemy grenade land between himself and the other Marine, Lance Corporal Anderson immediately rolled over and covered the lethal weapon with his body, absorbing the full effects of the detonation. By his indomitable courage, inspiring initiative, and selfless devotion to duty, Lance Corporal Anderson was instrumental in saving several Marines from serious injury or possible death. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC)

Iraqi oil and rail officials have teamed with coalition forces trained on easing the fuel shortages in southern Iraq. Planners are revamping a part of the city's rail depot, which has been inoperable for 15 years, so it can accept rail fuel cars coming from southern Iraq. The fuel will be distributed to various gas stations in and around Ad Diwaniyah. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Misero, noncommissioned officer in charge of the public facilities team, part of the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade of Norristown, Pa., has been working with the Iraqi Republic Railroad to reconstruct a railroad spur at the Ad Diwaniyah Depot that will enable rail cars to be offloaded into ready storage tanks at the rail yard. Fuel trucks, once filled, can travel to area service gas stations in Ad Diwaniyah and the neighboring city of Samawa, said Misero of Medina, Pa. Work was completed 24 August 2003. Because of their larger capacity, the rail cars are able to move more fuel than convoys of trucks that had been transporting fuel periodically from a refinery in the southern city of Basra.

Equipped with shovels and sickles, the Marines waded through the chest-high grass surrounding a dilapidated athletic building Aug. 9 in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq. Though there is still much work to be done inside and out, the building, when finished, will become the city's new women's and youth center. The significance of the center goes beyond another new construction project by coalition forces. The unit identified the need for such a center in Ad Diwaniyah, where women make up nearly 60 percent of city's 260,000 inhabitants.

Camp Hope

In June 2003 Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 began adding to the foundation of the Civilian Military Organization work in Diwaniyah, Iraq. Marines from 3rd Battalion 5th Marines started the CMO construction projects.

During the most recent deployment in 2003, NMCB FOUR deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) to help sustain combat operations of the I Marine Expeditionary Force. NMCB FOUR distinguished itself by building five bridges and repairing supply routes to maintain and increase logistics flow to combat forces during the war phase of OIF. They made history as the first Seabees to reach Baghdad with Task Force Mike. After the war phase, NMCB FOUR relocated to Camp Hope in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, where they worked with local contractors re-building a courthouse, a jail, a police station and 18 schools. The Battalion’s Air Detachment also deployed to Iraq, via Spain and Turkey, to repair numerous schools and community interest items in the cities of An Najaf and Karbala.

The hot summer days in Iraq actually start with a hint of a cool breeze, and they usually end the same way. But temperatures hover in the 120-degree range during the heat of the day, and the Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 stayed extremely busy. The sounds of hammers pounding, saws slicing and torches flaring could be heard throughout the camp. Four of the projects the steelworkers and builders of Charlie Company are working on had more to do with camp members comfort and morale than project sites in the area. With more than 200 Seabees and 300 Marines from 3rd Battalion 5th Marines in camp or nearby, and more arriving daily, a few of the luxuries of home are becoming scarce, or harder to find. The grills arrived just in time for 4th of July cookouts. The Seabees at Camp Hope enjoyed burgers and hot dogs, and Marines here and at Camp Edson, a neighboring camp, grilled chicken, hot dogs and burgers. The building crew made 24 wooden shelves for berthing areas and 10 shaving stands, to meet the growing demands of Camp Hope personnel. Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 Headquarters Company are assigned to the Material Liaison Office (MLO), which also is the Central Tool Room (CTR) for the battalion. Establishing reliable supply lines is not an easy task in Iraq or Kuwait, which is where members of the battalions MLO/CTR department have been acquiring materials over the last few months. They buy equipment from Iraqi and Kuwaiti suppliers, and obtain supplies from other coalition forces with the use of government request forms.

Camp Edson

Marines are notorious for renaming places where they are stationed or placed. Everyone in the Marine Corps knows that Cherry Point, NC is called the PIT, Okinawa Japan is called the Rock, and Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq (University) is now named Camp Edson. Camp Edson is a prime location for several reasons. It's central to the current locations of many 1st Marine Division units. The camp is located aboard an Iraqi university campus, Al Qadisiyah University in Ad Diwaniyah, which provided existing buildings for workspace.

The building the postal Marines were assigned was the former main library of the university campus. Although the building was damaged and slightly burned by looters in early April, it presented a larger space than the tents they used at previous field locations. The upswing of the "postal push" began April 21, soon after Marines established Camp Edson in central Iraq. Since that date, postal Marines have handled 115 containers of mail -- amounting to more than 147,000 cubic feet of mail -- averaging about five to eight containers a day depending on the contents of the container. An impressive record, considering the Marines have no automated label readers, conveyor belts and little heavy machinery to assist them. Most of the mail is handled the old-fashioned way: addresses are manually read and Marines unload and re-load using the human chain method.

Once the mail containers arrive at Camp Edson, postal Marines and working parties unload every container, and separate the bright orange bags of mail into separated piles for various units to collect. When the units arrive to pick it up, the Marines haul the bags into waiting transportation.

The ten Postal Marines at Camp Edson delivered over 145 20-foot containers full of mail over three weeks in a massive effort to get packages and letters to the nearly 25,000 Marines they support in the 1st Marine Division and 1st Force Service Support Group throughout Iraq.

Camp Echo / FOB Echo

Located near Diwaniyah, Forward Operating Base Echo, is in the Multi-National Division Central-South area of operations. Echo is the home of the Polish Armys 25th Air Cavalry. As of February 2005 it was a Polish run post and there are not very many American soldiers on base. On base there is a dining facility which has received good reviews for its selection and quality. The facility has an ice cream bar as well. There is also a market on base where local Iraqis sell soldiers various items. The MWR has pool and ping pong tables as well as books, TVs and many other recreational items.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:47:57 ZULU