AL ASAD, Iraq -- More than two-dozen Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 1, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, executed a two-hour base clean up here Oct. 19.
Temporarily putting down their rifles, the Marines split into three teams and donned their road safety belts before picking up everything from paper, discarded sandbags, wire and wood to scrap metal and miscellaneous debris, around an area near one of the base's main roads.
After two hours, the MACS-1 Marines hauled in enough trash--most of it leftover debris from when the base was still under the control of Saddam Hussein--to fill three 7-ton trucks.
"Some of the trash we have seen while walking around base towards the chow hall, but a lot of it you just do not see while driving around," said Cpl. Brandon M. Hall, logistics and embarkation non-commissioned officer, MACS-1, and a 29-year-old native of San Jose, Calif. "When you actually stop to look around, you notice that there is quite a lot of trash and stuff laying about or at the side of the road."
Brandon, who is an activated reservist, teaches high school to adjudicated youths in Denver and said he enjoys working with his fellow Marines in Iraq, even if it involves collecting trash for a few hours out of their normal work day.
"As Marines we like to leave things a little better than we find them, so we hope that we have helped to make this base a little cleaner or at least a section of it that a lot of people on this base frequent," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Knight, detachment gunnery sergeant, MACS-1, and a native of Denver, who joined the squadron's commanding officer, Capt. Greg J. Allan, and participating Marines during the clean up operation.
Keeping their competitive edge, the three teams also challenged each other before starting the job to see who could gather the most trash during the two-hour clean up, said Cpl. Louis M. Delphie, communications technician, MACS-1, and a 23-year-old native of Chicago, whose team had the largest load of material in the back of their truck.
"It kind of gives us a little something to brag about," said Delphie.
With the clean up behind them and three truckloads of trash to deposit at the base dump, the MACS-1 clean up crews were proud of their accomplishment.
"We did an outstanding job today," said Knight. "This kind of hard work sets a good example and makes a difference."