Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general, Multi-National Force - Iraq, arrives at Camp Gannon, Iraq, Saturday to visit Iraqi security forces at the point of entry along the Iraqi-Syrian border and speak with American troops at the camp.
CAMP GANNON, Iraq (Sept. 7, 2008) – When the MV-22 Osprey landed, Army Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general, Multi-National Force - Iraq, emerged with a grin on his face, eager to meet with and commend the service members under his charge.
The Warlords of Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 5, escorted Petraeus throughout the visit. His first course of action was to tour the nearby point of entry along the Iraqi-Syrian border and witness the progression that has taken place in the area.
“This part of al-Anbar province is a much quieter place now,” said Gen. Petraeus. “It’s a real privilege to be back out here.”
Upon returning to Camp Gannon, Petraeus joined Marines, Soldiers and Sailors for lunch and a brief meeting. Shortly afterwards, he gathered the troops for a ceremony to recognize those individuals who have served more than 24 months in Iraq or for outstanding actions while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“You should feel very good about what you’ve been a part of, what you’ve contributed to,” Petraeus said. “It’s an enormous tribute to your skill, your ability, your sheer force of will at certain times along the way and the wonderful work you have done.”
Lance Cpl. Shane Swartz, a motor transport mechanic with Motor Transport Platoon, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines, was recognized by Gen. Petraeus for helping to train Iraqi police officers on maintaining and preventing mechanical problems with their vehicles.
“The Iraqi police just had a group graduate from a mechanics school and I helped fine tune the skills of 16 Iraqis,” Swartz said modestly. “It’s not something I could have done without the help of my platoon and the guys in maintenance.”
Swartz, along with other service members, received Petraeus’ personal coin, and he hopes to share the meaning behind the coin with his children one day.
“I’ll keep it somewhere safe for now,” Swartz said. “I’ll show it to my kids one day and tell them that hard work pays off. Things you do are appreciated in the long run.”
The visit concluded with Petraeus addressing the troops before departing Camp Gannon.
“I’m real pleased to recognize some of you today,” Petraeus said. “Truth is, every one of you could be recognized. You’ve shown the enormous intrinsic value of everybody who wears a U.S. Military uniform. Thanks again for all you’ve done out here.”