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Marine swords given to honor friendships, sacrifice

Multi-National Corps – Iraq Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – The Marine Officer’s Sword was presented to two key sheikhs in Anbar by Multi National Force - West leadership Jan. 14 to honor the relationships developed and progress made over the last year.

Major Gen. W.E. Gaskin, commanding general of MNF-W, and Maj. Gen. John Allen, the deputy commanding general, presented the Marine Officer Sword to Sheikh Amer Abid al Jabbar Ali Sulayman al Assafi of the Dulaimi Tribal Confederation, and Sheikh Ahmed Bezia Ftaykhan Albu Risha, president of Sahwa al Iraq (the Awakening of Iraq).

The gifts are to honor them for their tribes’ dedication and sacrifice in fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, working with the local government, and beginning the process of rebuilding the area.

The “Proclamation of Friendship” was read as the swords were presented: “We, the friendly Coalition Forces, along with the great tribes and tribal leaders of Al Anbar, affirm the friendship that binds us, celebrate the alliance that unites us and commemorate the sacrifices of all Anbaris to achieve unity, security and prosperity for all the citizens of Al Anbar and the great nation of Iraq.”

The traditional Marine Officer’s Sword, originally presented to Marine 1st Lt.

Presley O’Bannon in 1805 by Prince Hamet of Tripoli as a sign of friendship, will be presented to a number of sheikhs from across Anbar to acknowledge their contributions and as a sign of continued friendship with Coalition Forces.

Anbar province became a model for security and reconstruction in 2007.

The Awakening movement, led by local sheikhs, spurred an influx of new Iraqi Police and Army soldiers.

Partnered with a surge of Coalition Forces and with the support of their community, Iraqi Security Forces drove terrorists and insurgents out of their cities.

Senior tribal leaders who fled the violence returned and the national government is working with the provincial leaders to help Anbaris rebuild their homes and businesses.

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