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1/6 hits the ground in Baharia, prepares for busy deployment;

17 Mar 2005 | Cpl. Mike Escobar

As he rests atop a dirt mound, the noonday Iraqi sun beating down on his face, Pfc. Mitchel T. Caluri wonders how the next seven months will unfold for him and his unit."This is going to be my first deployment, and it's been pretty good so far," stated the mortarman with 3rd Combined Anti-Armor Team Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. "I'm looking forward to going on patrol and doing our missions." The final elements of the 19-year-old Stetson, Maine native's unit, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, arrived here March 17 to conduct security and stability operations in and around Fallujah.The 2004 Central High School graduate's unit is replacing the California-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and will conduct operations from Camp Baharia outside Fallujah as well as bases inside the city.1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment will work alongside Iraqi Security Forces to conduct patrols, raids and vehicle and personnel entry control points throughout the area to root out insurgents and confiscate illegal arms. While they prepare to turnover with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Caluri and fellow Marines are seeing what facilities their home for the next seven months has to offer."It's actually pretty nice and comfortable in the camp," he said. "We're living in small houses with power and some plumbing."However, he and fellow Marines agree that the camp's communication facilities are its best feature."The phone center and Internet café are my favorite," Caluri stated. "It makes keeping in touch with friends and family pretty simple."Camp Baharia's Internet café provides Marines and sailors with access to several telephones and computers with Internet, web camera and instant messaging capabilities.On their off time, troops may also attend religious services at the camp chapel, work out in the camp's gym tent, or purchase hygiene and entertainment supplies at the Baharia exchange.Recreation needs aside, mission accomplishment is the number one concern on Caluri's mind."Our team will be escorting convoys going out to different areas around town to provide security. Right now, I'm just looking forward to getting started."