Camp Fallujah, Iraq -- Elected officials from nine different states sat to meet with service members from their states at a dining facility during a command visit here Sunday.
Led by Arizona senator and former Vietnam prisoner of war, John McCain, the congressional delegation stopped in Baghdad on the first day of their two day trip to Iraq to meet with Gen. George Casey, Commanding General, Multi National Forces - Iraq as well as the American Ambassador to Iraq. The congressional delegation on the second day of their tour met with Multi-National Forces- West staff. They also made it a priority to have lunch with Marines, sailors and soldiers from their home states. During this time discussed topics from the war in Iraq, to the weather back in their home state.
“I think it is pretty cool that they are representing the state back home, but they are also taking the time to visit us and show they support,” said Lance Cpl. Geoff R. Clover, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, security platoon driver, from Afton, Minn.
The purpose of the congressional delegation visit to Camp Fallujah was twofold: the delegation spoke with MNF-W senior staff about the progress of the transition since the battle of Fallujah, and also requested to meet with the Marines, Soldiers and Sailors from their home state. Both objectives were met according to the I Marine Expeditionary Force protocol officer.
“MNF-W clearly articulated the advancements, improvements and new challenges of our mission since the first battles of Fallujah,” said Capt. David J. Cote, Protocol Officer for I MEF.
Cote also expressed what he thought to be one of the highlights of the tour for the delegates.
“The delegates delighted in connecting with Marines from Arizona, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Minnesota, Alabama and Utah over a meal at the chow hall. Several delegates even exchanged personal phone numbers and addresses with the Marines,” said Cote.
According to Cote, the delegates, on behalf of the American people, expressed their complete support of the service members in Iraq.
Among the distinguished guests were, Sen. John McCain, from Arizona, Sen. Russell Feingold, from Wisconsin, Sen. John Thune, from South Dakota, Rep. Mark Kirk, from Illinois, Rep. Joe Schwarz, from Michigan, Rep. Tom Udall, from New Mexico, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, from Minnesota, Gov. Bob Riley, from Alabama and Gov. Jon Huntsman, from Utah.