Babylon living

23 May 2003 | Sgt. L.A. Salinas

Living and working in a place rich in history is just part of the job for Marines, sailors, and soldiers of the First Marine Expeditionary Force. This is the place where Daniel was thrown in a lion's den and saved by God, according to the Old Testament. Where Alexander the Great died and, supposedly, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon stood here once.

Service members are carrying on their daily tasks, whether it is on the flight line, security for the entry control points, or working with the local population to help clean the compound.

Media from various news agencies flock to the camp in hopes of getting a glimpse of one of Saddam's former palaces that was off-limits during the dictator's regime. Tours are offered by a local curator and a military chaplain at the nearby Babylon ruins, so military personnel get a chance to see some the culture they may have bypassed on the way to liberating the country.

Most Marines realize the importance of the area to the people, and one in particular realized its value to the world.

"We are here in the cradle of civilization," said 20-year old Lance Cpl. Jeremy R. Harris, crew chief with HMM-165, 3rd Marine Air Wing, from Evergreen, Alabama.