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Why I Serve: Marine Contributing to Iraq's Future

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 23, 2005 – Marine Sgt. Ocie Lowery said he's confident he and his fellow coalition troops are bringing new opportunity to the Iraqi people.

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Marine Sgt. Ocie Lowery of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigades Anti-terrorism Battalion said he brings both infantry and nuclear-chemical-biological experience to the job of detecting and deterring terrorism. Photo by Donna Miles

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"If we don't give Iraq a chance, I believe they'll end up falling back to the way they were before, but with someone else in power," said Lowery, deployed here with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade's Anti-terrorism Battalion.

The unit, the Marine Corps' only nonrotational anti-terrorism battalion, was activated at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in late October and is serving its first deployment as a unit here.

Specially trained to detect and deter terrorism, the unit is responsible for protecting former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace here, which now houses staffs from both the U.S. Embassy and Multinational Force Iraq.

Lowery, who brings both infantry and nuclear-chemical-biological experience to the job, said he believes he and his fellow Marines in A Company are making a solid contribution to the new Iraq. "I feel that this gives me the opportunity to do my part to get this country back to where it needs to go," he said. "If I can do my little part, I feel that I'm able to make a contribution."

Lowery said the Iraqis he interacts with on the job are "very respectful" and optimistic about their country's future. "You can tell by talking with them that they have hope," he said.

With a family history of Marine Corps service, Lowery said he always knew he wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Now, with eight years of service under his belt, he's hopeful that his experience in combating terrorism will be a springboard to his future career goals: to become a drill instructor, then rise to become the sergeant major of the Marine Corps.

"I think I have the leadership ability to fill that job," he said.

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