KUBAYSAH, Iraq -- As their families and friends were preparing to celebrate the New Year, the Marines and sailors of the Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 2nd Marine Regiment were recuperating after a long, hard day of patrolling the streets in Kubaysah, Iraq during Operation Moon River.The goal of the one-day operation, undertaken by elements of the 22nd MEU (SOC) and the Iraqi army, was to assess the status of essential civil services in the city and show a coalition presence in a city that has seen very little conventional military in recent months.“We wanted to meet with the local leaders and begin a working relationship with them to improve security, essential services, and economic status of the city,” said Capt. Winston G. McMillan, 22nd MEU Civil Military Operations officer.While McMillan, a native of Laurinburg, N.C., and other CMO officials met with Kubaysah’s government and business leaders, two large patrols threaded their way through the tight, litter-strewn streets.“The kids, as always, were great and real friendly,” said one BLT reconnaissance Marine, noting the smiles and waves that greeted the heavily-armed patrols. “Some of the adults would wave or shake our hands, but most just stared as we passed by.Despite some anti-U.S. and coalition propaganda found scattered throughout the city and a smattering of small arms fire that resulted in the capture of several insurgent weapons, the day proceeded without serious incident.“The operation was a complete success,” said McMillan. “One local official talked with us and said he felt much better about our presence and hopes we will work together for the progress of the city.”Operation Moon River was among a series of ongoing and planned military operations the 22nd MEU (SOC) will hope counter insurgent activity in Iraq’s Al Anbar province. In addition to BLT 1/2, the 22nd MEU (SOC) consists of its Command Element, MEU Service Support Group 22, and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced).For more information on the 22nd MEU (SOC)’s role in Operation Iraqi Freedom, visit the unit’s web site at http://www.22meu.usmc.mil.