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Local Marine Petersen joins humanitarian relief effort

Lance Cpl. Christopher Petersen.

Lance Cpl. Christopher Petersen has been deployed to Southeast Asia to assist in humanitarian aid for those areas recently devastated by the tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004. Petersen is stationed on Camp Hansen, Okinawa and assisted in loading out several C-130 Hercules cargo planes with meals and bottled water prior to boarding one of the planes destined initially for a military facility in Thailand.

Air Base Utapao, Thailand serves as a staging area for U.S. military and rescue aircraft, forensic experts and other relief assistance, with supplies and military personnel being funneled out of Utapao to tsunami ravaged areas. The command control and communications structure, known as Joint Task Force 536 is headed by Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, commander of the Okinawa based Third Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF).

Lance Cpl. Petersen was deployed along with 16 of his fellow Marines of the Seventh Communication Battalion, III MEF, their ultimate destination was unknown on Jan. 1, but were expected to be deployed for four months.

Petersen has recently taken part in Exercise Tayoreru Partner-05 where the communications battalion provided a critical link from the Marines in the field to higher headquarters.

He also participated in Operation Focal Lense, where the Seventh provided communications during a 60 day field exercise in South Korea.

Petersen's military occupation specialty (MOS) is refrigeration mechanic and is cross trained in generator maintenance and equipment operation. He was advanced in rank to Lance Corporal in October 2004 after returning to Camp Hansen from Korea. He is a 2002 graduate of Emery High School. His parents are Ray (Pete) and Nancy Petersen of Ferron. Grandparents are Don and Laverna Petersen of Ferron and Ruth Draft and the late Lee Draft of Muskeegon, Mich.

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