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Valley View by Fereva

March 10, 2005

By Jan. 13, Morton had left for Camp Coyote in Kuwait to serve as movement control chief. His position entailed processing up to 60 requests a day for transporting subordinate units of 500-1,000 Marines, along with their equipment and supplies: "The three 'Bs,'" Morton said, "Beans, bullets and Bandaids," or rations, weapons and medical supplies. Morton coordinated truck convoys for movement of the same, usually at night.

After war in Iraq was declared by President Bush in March 2003, Morton left Camp Coyote for Camp Viper in southeastern Iraq, serving once again as movement control chief. He returned to the U.S. in the summer of 2003 and was present for his daughter's birth on Sept. 3. A year and a half later, Morton is preparing for another tour of duty in Iraq, with a window of departure some time in March.

He will be deployed to Al-Asad Air Base as part of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465, positioned as its embarkation chief. His squadron, the War Horses, is composed of 250 people including a dozen women. It is for these Marines that Jones and Tanabe are organizing a support group stateside. According to Jones, drop-off points for donations such as snack items, toiletries and comfort needs (anything from cards and letters, to pre-paid calling cards) are being arranged locally as of press time.

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Morton told me that overall, "The Iraqi people are friendly. They're not out to get us, or anything like that. A lot of them don't want us there, but a lot of them do. We'll be in a convoy and have to slow down as people wave at us from the side of the road saying things like (thumbs up) 'U.S. is number one!'" Morton further noted that following U.S. training, members of the Iraqi military and military police were beginning to lift some of the burden off U.S. troops.

"Hopefully in the long run, it will help stop Marines from going over because the Iraqis will be able to take care of their own country," he said. "But if they need us to go back, then so be it- we'll do it.

"It's not that I want to go over there and risk my life, but if my country needs me, by God I'm going over there."

fereva@earthlink.net

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Since joining the Marines in 1999, Cpl. Michael T. Morton has been awarded the Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Medal, among other honors.

If you wish to support our troops, regardless of whether or not you support the war in Iraq, please contact Cliff Jones at 648-2026; e-mail cljones3156@sbcglobal.net, or Bob Tanabe 957-1657 e-mail btanabe@charter.net. Jones and Tanabe are firm supporters of President Bush's policies, however, their effort on behalf of our troops is non-partisan.

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