Thursday, August 21, 2008

Morgan Park/Beverly Welcomes Home 2-24 USMC

from left to right: 2/24 Commanding Officer during OIF, LtCol Mark A. Smith, SgtMaj Gary L. Payne and a civilian interpreter. (Note the Mad Ghost logo painted on the HMMWV.)

Welcome Home! The Businesses on Western Avenue - Mr. Swifty Cleaners, DiCola's Fish, McNalley's Pub, Stadium Club, the Comic Book Store on 111th Street in Mount Greenwood, Kean Gas, Keegan's Pub, Computer Bay have signage honoring your service!

Mike Hughes
Jim Kelly
Nick Parker
Bob Carroll
John Folliard

On Saturday August 23rd, the neighborhood will welcome home five Marines from duty in Iraq. The are members of the 2nd Battalion, Twenty Fourth Marines ( 2-24) 'Chicago's Own' - here is a little about their service from the Battalion Website

Chicago's Own was mobilized again in June 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The battalion trained at Camp Pendleton until August of that year when they relocated to Mahmudiyah, in the North Babil Province of Iraq, an area known as the "Triangle of Death". The battalion was engaged in intense combat operations against members of the Iraqi insurgency. [2] 2/24 made Marine Corps history when they became the first reserve infantry battalion of OIF to operate independently, isolated on its own forward operating base.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner John F. Burns, the Chief Foreign Correspondent of the New York Times described his time spent with 2/24 this way: "A week with the 2/24 Marines at their bases 15 to 30 miles south of Baghdad, in the heart of the area known as the Triangle of Death, was a window on the demands being made of reservists, and on the resourcefulness and resilience they bring to the challenges. There is little they cannot do, with hard work and improvisation, the battalion's officers say, reflecting the widely varied backgrounds of the men in the Chicago-based unit - doctors, policemen[3], engineers, teachers, carpenters, truck drivers, lawyers, computer specialists, community counselors, college students, to name a few." [4]

After establishing additional strong points in the area, working closely with the Iraqi Army and Police, providing security for the first-ever open democratic elections in Iraq and arresting over 1,000 suspected insurgents (with an incredibly high conviction rate,) 2/24 returned to California in March 2005. They deactivated in May 2005.

In March 2006, elements of 2/24 participated in Operation Shared Accord in Niger. The Marines taught basic military tactics to groups of soldiers from the Forces Armees Nigeriennes and also provided humanitarian support to some of Niger's neediest citizens. In May 2006, Echo Company of 2/24 participated in Operation Noble Shirley in Israel by conducting desert warfare and joint counter-terrorism training with the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF].

On September 10th, 2007, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines were once again activated in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and relocated to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. The battalion began another tour in Iraq beginning in January 2008 and operated in the vicinity of Habbaniyah, operating out of base formerly known as RAF Habbaniya. On August 10, 2008 they turned over their area of operations to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines and returned stateside in late August.

Your Families, Friends and Neighbors bid you -'Welcome Home!'

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