Habbaniya - All Marines are riflemen, but can Marines master all rifles? With security as the key for bringing stability to a war-wary Iraq, Marines are tapped to train a novice national army with a shaky reputation.
It's a clear, hot day beneath the Al Anbar sun, 50 miles northwest of Baghdad. Habbaniya is a former British airbase ceded from the Ottoman Empire after the First World War. Next to the long runways that required more space to take off are the remains of an upscale ex-pat community. The British officer—a respected position of social mobility in a class-fast society—could live a very comfortable life in the post-Great War Iraq of the 20's and 30's. The type of life where the help were confined to the Coolie Town and Olympic sized pool parties entertained the lady of the house while the husbands gathered for Pimms at the officer's club after a day of test flying aircraft.