AR RAMADI, Iraq -- The Marines of Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division took time from their daily duties here to celebrate the 230th anniversary of the Marine Corps’ birthday.
The birthday ceremony included the traditional cake cutting presided over by the battalion’s commanding officer and sergeant major, Col. David K. Hough and Sgt.Maj. Clyde S. Smith.
The celebration of the Marine Corps birthday in Iraq was an especially meaningful event for the Marines of Headquarters Battalion. Even though the Marines from the unit weren’t wearing their dress blues and couldn’t toast with the traditional punch, they seemed perfectly content – even proud – to celebrate the event in their dust-caked camouflage uniforms, surrounded by other Marines.
Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division assumed responsibility of the camp March 10, but the Camp Lejeune-based Marines were in country weeks prior to ensure a seamless handover of authority. Currently, the battalion has more than 1,300 Marines and sailors with detachments serving throughout the theater of operations ensuring the division completes its mission. Unlike other Marine Air/Ground Task Force headquarters in Iraq, 2nd Marine Division is not a “forward” unit. The Commanding General and his Staff deployed as the Ground Combat Element for Multinational Forces West–Iraq. Thus, Headquarters Battalion and its flag deployed to Iraq along with two regimental headquarters (2nd and 8th Marine Regiments). Each of these units left behind elements to address the day-to-day missions at Camp Lejeune.
At Camp Blue Diamond, Headquarters Battalion is responsible for camp’s security and support the division headquarters’ daily operations. This was accomplished by improving the camp’s residents’ quality of life and hardening the force protection measures of the camp.
“Basically, our mission is transportation, communication, life support and security to the commanding general and his staff,” said Hough. “Truck Company provides extra motor transportation support to the regimental combat teams and brigade combat team when needed and Communications Company has small detachments spread out wherever they are needed.”
Security and force protection are top priority for the battalion. Increasing the force protection of the camp is continuous; more than 22,500 sandbags and 5,750 protective HESCO sand-barriers have been filled and approximately 1.5 miles of protective wire and fencing were emplaced since the unit’s arrival.
“Marines from every section within the unit augment the battalion’s efforts,” said Smith. “The officers, staff noncommissioned officers, Marines, and corpsmen have all combined in this huge team effort and I am very proud of each and every one of them in their abilities to go above and beyond to accomplish any mission or task.”
As Marines from the battalion stopped to remember the proud heritage of the Corps, they are reminded that they are helping to write a new chapter in our history.
“Like the countless Marines who have gone before you, you are now cherished members of one of the most elite groups to which you can belong, United States Marines in the service of your country in combat against your nation’s enemies,” said Hough.