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HADITHA DAM, Iraq (Aug. 15, 2008) – Leaders from Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group, stand atop Haditha Dam during a tour of the area Aug. 15 discussing the future of the dam. With retrograde nearing completion, and the dam running under Iraqi supervision with minimal help from a detachment from the Army Corps of Engineers, 100 percent turnover is just over the horizon. (Photo by Cpl. GP Ingersoll)

Photo by Cpl. GP Ingersoll

Corps to cast fewer shadows on Haditha

16 Aug 2008 | Cpl. GP Ingersoll

HADITHA DAM, Iraq – Marines will soon be casting fewer shadows on Haditha Dam, but their efforts helped cast light across the Iraqi nation.

Marine leaders from Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group, toured Haditha Dam Aug. 15 to view the different logistical progressions achieved during the battalion’s stay in al-Anbar Province and view what still needed to be done in preparation for withdrawal.

Lt. Col. David J. Eskelund, commanding officer, CLB-6, met with Camp Haditha’s mayor, Maj. Sean K. Butler, to review Haditha’s current status as well as sketch a plan for the future, which includes 100 percent turnover of Haditha to Iraq’s Ministry of Energy.

“It’s just another area where (Iraq’s) department of energy can assume full control of a resource,” said Eskelund, 40, Houston, Texas. “It’s the next step in them running and powering their own government.”

Recently, Marines facilitated an operation that updated and corrected the power lines which carry electricity to Baghdad, a city of about 7 million people. The old wires suffered badly from years of wear and tear, and the wire configuration lacked efficiency.

Coalition Forces and Iraqis put in new power lines to provide power to Baghdad, contributing to the stability of the country, said 1st Lt. Jay L. Montgomery, Forward Logistics Elements officer in charge, CLB-6, 1st MLG.

Before revamping power lines and towers, Marines and Iraqis had to clean up the disarray left from five years of combat operations. With the many Marines continuously living at the dam for the last few years, the amount of support equipment was astronomical.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of scrap metal and equipment had to be either removed or retrograded back to other forward operating bases, said Montgomery, 25, Nashville, Tenn.

“We (demilitarized) all those different areas,” said Montgomery. “It’s going to be very easy to pull chocks and leave … we’re way ahead of the game.”

To Eskelund, Haditha’s success can be attributed to the Marine Corps’ work ethic and teamwork. Now Marines have to plan their exit, and the best way for leaders to do that is to check the status first hand.

“It’s been an excellent coordinated effort between (3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment) and CLB-6. You’ve got to go to the ground to get the ground truth, walk there and see what’s been done, and then discuss with the guys who actually live there about a feasible plan of getting out of there.”


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