Photo Information

CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq (July 25, 2005)- Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps John L. Estrada, talks to Marines of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team-2 during a visit here July 25. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Commandant, Sgt. Maj. of Marine Corps visit 3/2 in Al Qa’im

25 Jul 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

It was a special day for four Marines of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, deployed here in Western Iraq, who received a special visit by commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps. General Michael W. Hagee and Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada arrived here the afternoon of July 25 to meet with the Marines of Task Force 3/2 and to give four Marines Purple Hearts for wounds received during combat operations. Lance Cpl. Calvin Mitchum, 20, a rifleman with 1st Platoon, Company K, was one of those Marines. “It was a really good feeling to receive this medal from the commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps. I was surprised to receive it from them. It motivated me to finish the deployment to the best of my ability,” explained the Kingstree, S.C., native. Mitchum, a 2003 Kingstree Senior High School graduate, was injured during Operation Spear in Karabilah, Iraq in late June when a grenade detonated near him shooting shrapnel into his foot. Hagee and Estrada’s presence was also a morale builder for the troops, who clash with insurgents on a regular basis. They both spoke with the Marines and answered questions that the Marines had ranging from future operations to equipment being looked at for Marines. “For me it raised my morale to have them here with us. It let me know that they are really concerned about troop welfare,” Mitchum said. The other Marines who received Purple Hearts were Gunnery Sgt. Charles Yannizzi, a Marine with the explosive ordnance disposal detachment, Cpl. Kyle Pimm and Lance Cpl. Patrick Jackson, who are also with 1st Platoon, Company K. Mitchum described the ceremony as unforgettable. “This is one of the few moments in my life I’ll never forget,” he explained. After the ceremony the Marines of Task Force 3/2 were able to take group and individual pictures with Hagee and Estrada.