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Public Statements

U. S. Military Personnel Serving in Iraq

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, today is a historic day for the people of Iraq as they go to the polls to freely elect a permanent 275-member Iraqi National Assembly. It is important to remember that these elections in Iraq would not have been possible without the bravery and sacrifice of the U.S. Armed Forces who have served and are currently serving in Iraq helping to provide the Iraqi people with the freedom and democracy that they deserve.

Our service members who are serving in Iraq are promoting democracy, restoring and repairing public services, working to prevent terror attack, and destroying the insurgency in a country that hasn't known freedom in decades.

As we focus on the meaning of Thursday's election in Iraq, it is important to realize the extraordinary bravery exhibited by our service members.

One unit in particular, the 4th Civil Affairs Group, CAG, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, based in Washington, DC was deployed to Iraq during the January 30, 2005 elections of a temporary Iraqi National Assembly. These marines, many of whom are from my State of Pennsylvania, helped to promote democracy, restore and repair public services to the Iraqi people, and prevent terror attacks by insurgents. This particular unit played an active role in the election day operations in January by setting up polling locations and participating in security patrols to protect voters and voting sites and was an integral part in the United States' battle for Fallujah. Also during its deployment, the 4th CAG worked to install new electricity transformers in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, the capital city of the al Anbar Province, also known as one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the deputy commander of this unit of brave marines was William Reynolds, now proudly serving as Senator Specter's chief of staff.

One marine in particular from that unit, CPL William Cahir, has written about his experiences in Iraq. Corporal Cahir, originally from State College PA, was a journalist before September 11, 2001. After seeing the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred in our country on that day, Bill Cahir felt compelled to serve our country and joined the Marine Corps. As part of the 4th CAG of the Marine Corps Reserve, Corporal Cahir was deployed to Iraq.

During his deployment to Iraq, Corporal Cahir, along with other members of the 4th CAG, helped to establish a Civil Military Operations Center in Ramadi. On election day in January in Iraq, Corporal Cahir and the 4th CAG were responsible for protecting a polling site in Ramadi.

Having returned from his deployment to Iraq, Corporal Cahir has since returned to his civilian job. As a journalist, Bill Cahir covers a multitude of stories but has since focused many of those stories on his own personal experiences in Iraq and the experiences of other service members.

In one article he wrote for The Express-Times, a newspaper from Easton, PA, Mr. Cahir told the story of two service members--COL James T. Anthony, a marine reservist from Nazareth, PA, and LTC Stanley B. Smith, Jr., an Army officer with the Army's 98th Division, Institutional Training. Both service members were on their way to Camp Taji in Baghdad to begin their deployments to Iraq.

In his article, Bill Cahir documented the sentiments of these two service members during their deployments. Colonel Anthony had recounted his observations of the training of Iraqi soldiers, ``U.S. Marines, soldiers and sailors, along with their commanders, `did a fantastic job really pushing the ball forward when it comes to training Iraqi security forces, not just in terms of numbers but in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.'''

Lieutenant Colonel Smith also recounted his experiences in Iraq when he said, ``I am able to feel a sense of pride in accomplishment here in seeing real results in the form of construction that has been completed as planned and Iraqi units operating with installations that contribute to mission readiness.''

Mr. President, these stories from our soldiers are just a few more examples of the success in Iraq that our troops are contributing to. Each and every one of our service members has contributed to the promotion of democracy, the security, and the rebuilding of Iraq.

I applaud the marines of the 4th Civil Affairs Group and all of the service members who are serving or who have served our Nation in Iraq. The bravery that they have displayed and the progress they have made in Iraq is remarkable, and it needs to be told.

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