Iraqi Ministers of Defense, State speak to Iraqi troops in historical event

27 Nov 2007 | Gunnery Sgt. Chago Zapata

Iraq's Minister of Defense Hazem Sha'alan and a Minister of State Kasim Daoud spoke to members of Iraq's Security Forces during a visit to the base here today.

Today's visit marked a historical, first-ever meeting with these specific units for both members of Iraq's Interim Government.  They used this opportunity to talk to the soldiers and inspire then to continue their dedicated service to the country of Iraq.

Also present were Col. Anthony M. Haslam, commanding officer, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), and Brig. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, deputy commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

This is just one example of the new government's climate; its leaders took the time to explain the current situation and why their soldier's service was important.
Both ministers fielded questions from the soldiers and gave them straightforward answers.

"Sadr and his militia are bad people and do not represent the views of Iraq or Islam," Sha'alan said when a soldier asked about the Muqtada Militia.  "I ask you to help out our country and get Sadr's militia out."

Both ministers asked the soldiers to continue to help their country and wished them good luck on future missions, should clearing operations resume in the city.

"We're here to help you and support you in everything you do," said Sha'alan.

Marine Corps News

Colonel James W. Lively
Commanding Officer

Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit