Local Marines secure Iraq embassy: Families cautioned to stay quiet on social media

A Marine with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, based in Twentynine Palms, provides long-range overwatch security with an M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System at the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq Jan. 3.

TWENTYNINE PALMS — After the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad Tuesday, Dec. 31, a group of Twentynine Palms Marines were called in as part of a crisis response task force to support the embassy compound.

The Marines come from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines and are assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command. As conflicts continue to rise in the Middle East, more Twentynine Palms Marines and other servicemen and women may be scheduled to deploy.

The battalion was stationed in Kuwait when the embassy was attacked and quickly responded.

“Our reinforcement of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad illustrated the proficiency and exceptional vigor of our Marines to execute the mission we are here for,” a spokesperson for the task force stated in social media posts.

“Since arriving at the embassy, Marines of the Special Purpose MAGTF — Crisis Response — Central Command have bolstered security to keep American citizens safe. They maintain a ready posture to respond.”

On Tuesday, Dec. 31, protesters broke into the embassy and set fires inside the compound. 

Congressman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, the Morongo Basin’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, said he supported the strike.

“This decisive defensive action sends a message that the United States will not tolerate terror or further Iranian aggression,” Cook said in a released statement.

“The government of Iran is a leading sponsor of terrorism worldwide, and we must proceed cautiously while remaining resolute in protecting our country and defending freedom.”

Since the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines have landed in Baghdad, thousands of other American troops have joined them, including 2,500 members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, according to the Miami Herald, and about 750 troops from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

Provost marshal: Be wary on social media

As more servicemen and women get deployment orders, leaders at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center reminded everyone to not talk openly about troop movements on social media.

“As our security posture continues to increase, it’s important to remember operational security,” Provost Marshal Maj. Cory Holiday said in a released statement. “OPSEC is the process of protecting individual pieces of data that could be grouped together to give the bigger picture.”

OPSEC is the protection of critical information deemed essential to missions from military commanders, senior leaders or other decision makers. OPSEC does not apply to information purposefully released to media outlets by the Department of Defense.

Holiday reminded everyone to update their privacy settings on social media and to not post openly about their or their loved ones’ deployments or troop movements.

He also reminded everyone to watch what they say in public and to keep an eye out for suspicious friend requests on social media.

MCAGCC has also increased security measures at entrance gates; people traveling to and from the base may be delayed.

The provost marshal encourages anyone who sees suspicious and potentially dangerous activities on base to report the activity by visiting the Eagle Eyes website at https://usmceagleeyes.org or calling the hotline, (760) 830-EYES (3937).

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