HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- The commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, visited coalition troops stationed while touring the western Al Anbar province, Jan. 2.
On his command visit, Huck talked with troops of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, received updates on operations in the area and met with the Azerbaijani Army company to present an award.
“Every month, we make command visits to areas like this one,” said Capt. Gary A. Bourland, aide de camp to the general. “We go see the different units and this time we are here to recognize the Azerbaijanis.”
After receiving routine briefs from the battalion, the Azerbaijani soldiers held a company formation where Huck talked to the troops. An award was presented to the Azerbaijani Army for excellence while supporting the 2nd Marine Division.
“They have a big job of protecting the number one piece of infrastructure in the area,” commented Huck. “They have done a great job. Without them here, we wouldn’t be able to operate as effectively in the triad area.”
The Azerbaijani Army has supported the 2nd Marine Division for almost a year now, keeping the Haditha Dam safe from insurgent attacks. They are responsible for protecting the dam infrastructure and the Marines living inside its walls.
The company’s commanding officer, Azerbaijani Army Maj. Ramiz Eyubov, accepted the plaque on behalf of the troops and thanked Huck for talking to the troops and the award. The plaque, he said, is to be placed in a museum in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.
“We see the plaque as something not given to us or the company, but a plaque for the people of Azerbaijan,” Eyubov said. “It will be added to our museum in Baku.”
According to Azerbaijani Army Capt. Rashad Garayev, the company’s executive officer, being visited by an American general is a very exciting time for the soldiers. This visit was very important for the troops who are leaving to return home in the coming weeks.
“It definitely improved the morale of the troops,” commented Garayev, a native of Baku, Azerbaijan. “It is very special to them when someone comes here to tell them how good a job they are doing. It makes them feel proud to be here.”