Thursday, August 17, 2006

MARINE KNOWN AS "LION"

Marine known as "Lion" makes a difference
in Iraq.

June 14, 2006
By Lance Cpl. Brian J. Holloran
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing


AL ASAD, Iraq (June 14, 2006)---Town Council
meetings are held twice a week between local
Iraqi leaders and Marines from the area, as
well as the USMC CAG (Civil Affairs Group).

One of the reasons the mood during these
meetings are so light is because of Gunnery
Sgt. Erik E. Duane (Gunny), detachment chief,
Detachment 1, 3rd Civil Affairs Group,
Regimental Combat Team 7, I Marine Expeditionary
Force. He is a CAG (Civil Affairs Group) Marine
with a very unique friendship with the local Iraqis.

Because of Duane's willingness to help the Iraqis
and his effective projects, the Iraqis have given
him a nickname and bestowed other honors upon him.

"Gunny is the lion," said Shu'aib. "We call him that
because he is a great friend and does everything he
can for us. People throughout the town thank me for
what I have done, and I tell them, 'Don't thank me,
thank the Marines. They are the ones who make us able
to do this.' Gunny is my brother. When I die I hope
he will mourn for me."

"The relationship Gunny has with the Iraqis is
exceptional," said Cpl. Jesus O. Luna, civil affairs
noncommissioned officer, Detachment 1, “the locals
look to Duane as a champion and liberator.”

When it comes to making Iraq a little better, Duane
and his CAG Marines are not only ready to do the job,
but they enjoy it as well."This job is very rewarding,"
said Duane. "I have one of the few jobs that produce
results that we can see and touch. We assist in gaining
the trust and confidence of the local Iraqis. The best
part about the job is when the local Iraqis start to
take pride in their communities and when they do things
to better their conditions on their own."

"The Iraqis love him," said Sweet, a native of Meridan,
Miss. "They tend to call him Sheik Gunny or Captain Gunny
since he has improved their life so much already. They go
to him with every little problem they have, hoping he will
be able to fix it."

"Gunny has helped improve our lives greatly," said Shu'aib
Barzan Hamreen Al Aubaidy, Iraqi policeman and manager of
waste disposal for Baghdadi. "He has started projects to
pick up our trash and to help give us clean water. He even
helped deliver us bottled water when there was an attack
on the water treatment plant."

According to Duane, a native of Westminster, Calif., there
are a lot of projects planned for the near future for the
local Iraqi residents.

"We have water and sewage treatment projects planned, as
well as numerous repairs to the local schools and residences,"
said Duane. "We are also working closely with the local
leaders to establish a strong governance in this area."

Duane has been made a member of the Aubaidy tribe and is
now considered the brother and family member of many of
the local residents.

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