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    Bahrain-Based U.S. Marines Provide Security for Departing Americans



    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet       

    By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Watkins

    BEIRUT, Lebanon (July 22, 2006) - A group of U.S. Marines from Interim Marine Corps Security Force (IMCSF) Bahrain arrived here July 20 to provide security for the commercial vessel Orient Queen as it assists with the voluntary departures of U.S. citizens.

    The IMCSF is coordinating the security aboard the Navy-contracted ship and is working to ensure the safe and orderly transport of each passenger who boards the vessel. The Marine security team, along with the help of Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), is also screening passenger luggage prior to loading it on the vessel.

    Private First Class Aaron Welch, a member of the IMCSF detachment, said most people were relieved at the sight of the Marines and expressed their gratitude.

    "This is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in the Marine Corps," said Welch. "Just to see the looks on the people's faces; they are just so appreciative that we're here."

    Orient Queen is one of many assets being used to transport American citizens from Lebanon to Cyprus, as part of the coordinated voluntary departure efforts.

    Chief Executive Officer Abou Merhi of Aboumerhi Cruises said it was an honor for him to have the opportunity to assist the U.S. and work alongside Marines.

    "This is the best deal for me to be able to help," said Merhi. "I'm not doing it for the money; I'm doing it from the heart."

    According to U.S. officials, more than 7,000 U.S. citizens have already been safely transported to Cyprus. U.S. naval vessels will remain on scene and continue to transport passengers for as long as the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon requires.



    Date Taken: 07.25.2006
    Date Posted: 07.25.2006 13:13
    Story ID: 7302
    Location: BEIRUT, LB 

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