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Lejeune Marines treat wounds, verify restored power and water in Iraq village

3 Oct 2004 | Sgt. Luis R. Agostini

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, conducted a civil affairs mission in a northern village of Al Majarrah, Iraq, Oct. 3, 2004.

The Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based artillery unit provides security for Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, 1st Force Service Support Group's headquarters base. The unit also conducts civil affairs missions within their area of operations.

During the mission, Navy Lt. Michael A. Burt, the battalion surgeon, applied a fresh wound dressing on a young girl from the village. According to relatives, AK-47s were fired in celebration at a wedding three weeks ago, and she was hit by a stray bullet.

The young girl had a dirty dressing on her foot for several weeks. Burt cleaned the wound as best he could and applied a fresh dressing. 

After a medical assessment, Burt plans on returning to the village to provide the girl with additional dressings and further medical care.

"As long as she keeps her dressing on, it should stay clean," said Burt, a 31-year-old native of Rochester, Minn.

The village's sheik verified the restoration of electricity and water to the Marines.  A $39,000 generator was purchased for the town several months ago by 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, the St. Louis, Mo.-based reserve unit replaced by 2/10 in September.

"Electricity was limited at best," said Marine Chief Warrant Officer Dwight Torres, 2/10's information officer. "The new generator now serves as a backup during blackouts."

The generator also powers the village's potable water pumping station. The villagers never had potable water, and pollution has plagued Lake Habbiniyah, a nearby lake.

For the first time, the Marines saw the village's new soccer field and flag pole, which they funded.

The village showed improvement since the battalion's last civil affairs mission in northern Al Majarrah in early September.

"The locals are taking more pride in themselves because they see good things coming," said Torres, a 35-year-old native of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. "They are picking up after themselves and guarding their front entrance from the bad guys."

The battalion plans on returning to Al Majarrah and other towns near Camp Taqaddum for future civil affairs missions.
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