HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- When Staff Sgt. Barrett A. Kahl was a recruiter in South Boston, Va., he talked with prospective enlistees about the Marine Corps being the smallest, yet most respected organization in the U.S. military.
Little did he know that one day those words would apply in his own life when he got the chance to reminisce with one of his recruits while deployed to Iraq.
“I saw him here one day standing in the chow line,” said Kahl, a Jarrettsville, Md., native. “It was weird how we were stationed at the same base in Iraq.”
His former recruit, Lance Cpl. Christopher M. Fallen of Halifax, Va., is also serving here in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While Fallen works as a machine gunner for the Dam Security Unit attached to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Kahl makes sure the DSU and other units attached to the battalion receive the food that keeps them going.
“I knew I would see him out here once he was done with recruiting duty,” said 21-year-old Fallen.
In early 2003, Kahl first met Fallen and knew he was different than other future Marines. Graduating in the top five in his class at Halifax County High School, Fallen could have been accepted to any college but instead chose to go into the Marine Corps.
“Since I’ve known him, he has always had a lot of heart,” Kahl said. “Even out here, I see it because he volunteered to come out here when he didn’t have to.”
Like most recruiters and their enlistees, they keep in contact with their Marines once they graduate basic training and go on to their units. Fallen kept in touch with his recruiter all the way through his enlistment and showed up at Kahl’s office each time he went home on vacation.
“When he got back from Iraq the first time, we got together and had dinner,” said Kahl, a mess chief attached to the battalion. “We have done lots of things together since he enlisted in the delayed entry program.” Before crossing paths in Iraq, the two were both stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Once again, they would run into each other on a regular basis much like they do now in Iraq.
“It is really nice seeing him out here,” Kahl said. “He brings a little taste of home whenever I see him.”