Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters Friday he had become known as "the fish farming general" because of the work he and his soldiers had done developing economic capacities in Iraq,
Lynch, who will be heading for Fort Hood in a couple of weeks for a corps command and a third star, said, "Iraqis are just like we are. They want the same things we want. They want better lives for themselves and for their children."
Providing things like fish, a major food source for Iraqis, go hand in hand with the improvements in security and government, the general said.
In addition to the fish projects, Lynch said, "We brought 90,000 chicken eggs from Holland," which were placed in incubators and used to improve the local poultry industry.
"I can answer any question you might want to ask about chicken farming," he said.
Lynch said one purpose of his meeting Friday was "to thank all of you in the coastal Georgia communities for the support you have given us."
"During the time we were in Iraq, I never had to worry a single moment about the families back home," he said. "Sarah and I have never served in a place where the community cared so much. And they don’t just say they care, their actions speak louder than words."
Lynch said it would be a sad day for him when he had to remove the shoulder patch identifying him as a member of the Third Division. But he will always be wearing the 3ID patch on his right sleeve, he said. (Soldiers wear on their left shoulders a patch representing a division with which they have gone into combat.)
Lynch distributed a tri-fold leaflet from his final week in Iraq, dated June 1, packed with statistics telling the Marne Division’s story. An 89 percent decrease in all forms of attack was shown, along with a 95 percent drop in civilian casualties, a 91 percent decrease in Multi-National Division-Center casualties and a 79 percent drop in Iraqi security force casualties.