Dear Friends, Family and Interested Readers,
I've included a story that's sad but inspiring at the same time, about a Marine that gave the last measure of his life for his Country and for his fellow man. It also looks like we're beginning the push into Mosul, the last stronghold of al Qaeda.
Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342
January 31, 2008
Helipad named after fallen Marine
By Army Sgt. Laura M. Bigenho
28th Public Affairs Detachment
BAGHDAD - A helipad was renamed and dedicated in memory of a Marine killed in action in Baghdad during a ceremony at Camp Victory Jan. 31.
Marine Maj. Douglas A. Zembiec was killed May 11, 2007, while leading an Iraqi military unit in the Iraqi capital. He was an infantry officer who was on his fourth tour in Iraq. Friends and fellow service members paid tribute, braving cold and wind to listen as others spoke fondly of the fallen warrior.
Marine Maj. Gen. John Paxton Jr., MN Force-Iraq chief of staff, said Zembiec represented the traits, characteristics and principals of a leader - discipline, endurance and reliability. Paxton said beyond those traits, Zembiec realized leaders needed to do 3 things: train the team, step forward and lead the team. "He realizes that before that team goes into the fight, he has 2 personal responsibilities. He has to be able to step forward at the darkest hour in the darkest times and make the toughest decision. When he's made that hard decision, he knows that the ultimate challenge of a leader is to be at the front - to say 'follow me.'"
Paxton also said that Zembiec's wife, Pamela, is one of many links in the cable that will keep his memory alive. Paxton added that she has a heart like her husband - the heart of a lion - adding that Pamela is not alone. "She has over 183,000 Marines on call," he said. "He has become a legend of the Corps."
A friend of Zembiec, Marine Maj. Thomas Presecan, MNF-I Coalition ops officer, choked up as he recalled memories he and Zembiec shared as cadets in 1995. "Doug lived for the challenge," Presecan said. "He made those around him better. He never surrendered to temptation or shortcuts. You could trust him with anything."
Army Gen. David Petraeus, MNF-I commanding general, said it was fitting to dedicate his helipad to the memory of Zembiec. Petraeus described him as a truly special person who made an impact not only on those who knew him, but also those who have read stories about the man nicknamed the "Lion of Fallujah." "He will be remembered as an American who answered the nation's call to serve again and again, who fought to bring freedom to the Iraqi people, and who gave the last full measure of devotion in the performance of his duty," Petraeus said.
Petraeus also said Zembiec will live on as a legacy and part of the new greatest generation, a generation which has answered the nation's call selflessly and courageously. "We will remember and honor those qualities that make him special forever."
The ceremony closed with a ribbon cutting and presentation of a memorial plaque.
Army Gen. David Petraeus and Marine Maj. Gen. John Paxton Jr., unveil a memorial plaque during a dedication ceremony at Camp Victory Jan. 31.
A formation of Marines stand on the newly renamed helipad.
MND-N Soldiers work with Iraqi Police in Mosul
Soldiers, based out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, unload barriers, sand bags and concertina wire.