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    JCS Chairman visits 1/3 Marines in Afghanistan

    Adm. Mullen Tours Afghanistan Market Alongside Marines, Views Progress

    Photo By 1st Lt. Brian Tuthill | Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Brigade...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Brian Tuthill 

    Regimental Combat Team-7

    NAWA, Helmand Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen visited Patrol Base Jaker Dec. 17 to tour the base and the Nawa district center, and spend time with Marines and sailors assigned here.

    Mullen, the president's top U.S. military advisor, accompanied Brig. Gen. Larry D. Nicholson, commanding general, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, and Lt. Col. Matt Baker, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, on a tour of the district's downtown market area just outside of Jaker.

    To showcase the peace and tranquility to the chairman, the group walked the streets outside of Jaker with only a security team and without their body armor.

    While in the market, Mullen spoke with Nawa district residents about their security and needs. He also spoke with Adbul Manaf, Nawa district governor, about the changes brought to the area by Marines since the arrival of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, in July.

    "One of the reasons [for my visit] is to see and recognize the improvement and change which has happened here since the Marines came into this area," said Mullen. "I was here within two weeks of when the Marines came in here initially, so it's very easy for me to observe where we were then to where we are now."

    Manaf told Mullen how happy he is having Marines in Nawa since their arrival months ago and hopes they can find a way to stay longer in Afghanistan to maintain Nawa's security.

    "The plan for all of us is to transition security to the local forces," Mullen said. "I am confident the Afghan National Security Forces will be able to do this job. I can fully understand the governor's elation [with our presence] because of the changes here.

    "He's so excited about the positive changes and it makes sense he would want us to stay but when that security prevails when we leave he will still be happy," said Mullen. "To be able to walk through places like this, I see how it has literally turned over from an insurgent stronghold to a town that is open and violence free."

    Mullen returned to Jaker and spent a few moments with Marines and sailors there, most from Alpha Company, 1/3. He explained how their seven months serving here in harm's way will pave the way for the security of the region and that he fully understands this sacrifice can be harder during the holidays.

    "It's great to be able to come out here and see you," said Mullen to the platoon assembled in front of him. "I've been around Marines my entire career and I can tell you I'm very proud of the work you're doing right now."

    The chairman answered questions from the platoon and then shook each service member's hand and presented them his personalized challenge coins before departing.

    "It was great to see him come out here," said Sgt. Khristopher L. Privitar, section leader, police mentoring team, 1/3. "We hear about celebrities coming out to bigger camps, but they're not really in harm's way. I think it's great for us to see the senior officer in the military out at our level where the troops are fighting here in Helmand province."

    "It's good for the Marines' morale and we could all see he really cares about how we're doing and what we need out here," said Privitar, 25, from Universal City, Texas. "He made sure we all got his coin, and that made it special for us. We'll all be able to look back on the day Admiral Mullen came to see us in Nawa."



    Date Taken: 12.17.2009
    Date Posted: 12.17.2009 13:29
    Story ID: 42889
    Location: NAWA, AF 

    Web Views: 1,103
    Downloads: 1,014