Sunday, October 21, 2007

Marines make difference in local Djiboutian community

Source: Victory Caucus.

24 Sept 07
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs.

NAGAD, Djibouti – Marines assigned to 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion and Heavy Marine Helicopter 464 out of Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, participated in a community relations project by painting a schoolhouse in Nagad Sept. 20. Reaching out to villages is a supplemental mission for the 3rd LAAD, the security force of Camp Lemonier.

“Our purpose here is to build relationships in the area as well as maintain and enhance security of the base,” said Marine Capt. Christopher F. Crim, 3rd LAAD Battery B commanding officer. “Marines have a long history of working with locals to accomplish the mission. We will help the local villages help themselves, provide security for the base and assist the Djiboutian police and military to maintain stability in the local area.”

Daoud Zeid Hassan, Arta School Region supervisor, stopped by the schoolhouse while the Marines were there. Hassan supervises seven primary schools and one secondary school.

“There is a strong friendship with the Marines,” said Hassan. “They help us a great deal with the schools. We feel they help where we can’t finish.”

The Marines visit the schools frequently to see what assistance they can provide, whether it’s painting walls or building additions.

“It’s great to be able to conduct goodwill missions, like painting the Nagad School, and to build friendships with the villagers and leaders in the local area,” Crim said.

The Marines of 3rd LAAD replaced the 6th Provisional Security Company Sept. 16 and are working to see what assistance the villages require.

“We are currently in the process of identifying the needs of the villages near Camp Lemonier,” said Crim. “Then we will make an assessment in coordination with other agencies on the camp to develop a plan of action.”

The efforts of the Marines are also appreciated by those who benefit most directly.

“Americans are very good,” said Daoud Omar Gousieh, a Nagad native. “They have been here for seven years, and they always give.”

The mission of more than 250 Marines assigned to 3rd LAAD is to provide perimeter and external security for Camp Lemonier in support of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interest in order to prevail against extremism.

Photo - Marine Gunnery Sgt. Rongalett D. Green and Marine Cpl. Vincent C. Girardi help a Nagad child paint the schoolhouse for 150 children. Green is the administrative chief and coordinator for the Horn of Africa Marine Corps Coordination Element. Green is deployed from Quantico, Va., and her father lives in Sacramento, Calif. Girardi is a guard for the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente.

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