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thedrifter
09-02-03, 01:06 PM
A Marine in Iraq

Tamaqua Cpl. sends photos, organizes toy drive despite conflict

By JOE PLASKO

United States Marine Corporal Andy Leibenguth has been stationed in Iraq since February.

"I've seen a lot," said Leibenguth via E-mail to the TIMES NEWS. A Tamaqua native, Leibenguth is serving as a Marine Reservist, the only one of 160 Marines in his company, CSSC-117. "I've been to almost all of the conflicts," he noted.

While in Iraq, Leibenguth is enduring the desert conditions with his Marine spirit intact.

"Imagine wearing flak, kevlar, cotton clothes, full camees, ammo, full NBC MOPP Gear, and not showering. Oh yeah, the temperature goes up to 145 degrees," said Leibenguth. "I am still loving it."

Prior to his present tour of duty, Leibenguth worked in the Marine Corps recruiting office in Schuylkill Haven for a year and was a Lance Corporal with the Naval and Marine Corps Reserves in Allentown.

Leibenguth was active with the Marine Corps League's Toys for Tots program back home, working with Schuylkill-Carbon Detachment 626. He has worked to start a separate toy program for Iraqi children as well, although it is not to be associated with Toys For Tots.

"I am trying to help the Civil Affairs Marines," explained Leibenguth. "Most of the Iraqi people I see daily have great respect for the U.S. Marines, but a majority of the children seem to see us as bullies from a greater country.

"I would like to give a lot of new, non-electrical toys to these kids as a show of caring from the U.S. troops and people back home.

"I keep very busy with my military tasks, support/security convoys, but I don't mind putting a little more into my day to help these people," he added.

The Marines will not be in Iraq much longer, noted Leibenguth. "Only a very few will stay, so I decided to contact the Army to see if they could assist with this. They said they would be more than happy to help with this collection and distribution."

For those interested, here is the address:

Marine Corps/Army Toy And Clothing Campaign.

977 MP Co./716 MP BN

APO AE 09357

Items that are needed:

ĚSend clean clothes, all sizes, child to adult.

ĚSend only usable, non-electric toys.

"We will open & inspect the boxes of donations we receive and then distribute them to the Iraqi people," explained Leibenguth. "No oversize donations we have to easily transport all of the donations."

For further collection Information, please contact Cpl. Andy Leibenguth, (USMC) at the following E-mail address: AndyLiving[at]earthlink.net.

In the meantime, Leibenguth has shared digital images of the Iraqi conflict with the TIMES NEWS, some of which are presented here as a reminder of what U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq are dealing with while the rest of us celebrate Labor Day weekend.

"All of the photos I took were after the action of the time was over," said Leibenguth. "Of course, I did not worry about taking pics while I was be shot at or at night. Marines are swift, silent, and deadly, but I did manage to take photos."

http://www.tnonline.com/archives/news/2003/08.30/marine.jpg

Cpl. Andrew Leibenguth fires his rifle, an M16A2, during target practice at a temporary shooting range in Iraq.

http://www.tnonline.com/online/localnews/06saturday/feature2.html


Sempers,

Roger
:marine: