AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq --
Crowds of children playfully surrounded Sgt. Karter Elliott while on missions through small Iraqi villages in al-Anbar Province.
The children knew Elliott, a Bellow Falls, Vt. native, as one of the Marines who brought them small toys and candy while leading security patrols with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). The children’s parents, mostly farmers and herdsmen, also recognized Elliott as he always loaded the unit’s patrol vehicles with extra water and food to share with them.
“I enjoy my job out here,” said Elliott during one of his last deployments outside the gates of Al Asad Air Base. “I enjoy helping the people of Iraq. The more they trust and work with me, the more security we can give them.”
Elliott often focused his attention on the children, believing that their trust will contribute to establishing an enduring peace in the region. The three-time veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom has seen significant progress in the region.
“I like the interaction with the Iraqis,” said Elliott. “It lets me see first hand all the progress that is being made.”
The Bellows Falls Union High graduate followed his older brother, Master Sgt. J.J. Elliott, by enlisting in Marine Corps.
After graduating boot camp, Elliott headed to Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss., where he was trained as a Marine weather observer. Serving as a patrol leader during this deployment took Elliott out of his normal duties, something his brother thinks was good for him.
J.J. Elliott, the operations chief with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, said this deployment helped his brother develop as a leader by putting him in charge at a small unit level.
“It’s important as a sergeant in the Marine Corps to experience leadership at all levels,” said J.J. “This will only develop him as a more well-rounded noncommissioned officer.”
Elliot’s previous combat deployments and his compassion for the Iraqi people set him up for success as a patrol leader, said Gunnery Sgt. Raymond Secoy, Elliott’s supervisor.
“Sgt. Elliott was a great asset to our team,” said Secoy. “He has proven himself as a Marine and a leader.”