Anti-terrorism battalion wraps up seven-month deployment

12 May 2009 | Cpl. Shawn Coolman 1st Marine Division

After a hard year of training and a deployment, one reserve battalion is finally heading home.

While completing their missions of convoy security operations, securing Combat Outpost Heider and ensuring elections ran smoothly in their area of operations surrounding Rabiah, Iraq, Company D, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 4th Marine Division sustained no casualties during their seven-month deployment and left many Iraqi Army soldiers better trained.

The Marines who comprise the battalion are select reservists from different Home Training Centers spread throughout the U.S.

The Marines were activated in May 2008 and began their Intermediate Location Training here with follow on predeployment training at Fort Polk, La.

“Our training was geared toward convoy security facilitated with the use of role players,” said Capt. Michael K. Burke, executive officer, Company D, from Foxborough, Mass.

“We deployed to Al Asad, (Iraq), in the beginning of October 2008 and were attached to 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine as part of Task Force Military Police,” said Burke, 31. “In the beginning of November, we were tasked with securing Combat Outpost Heider in support of Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North.”

While at COP Heider, Company D provided convoy security missions, worked alongside a Port-of-Entry Transition Team monitoring people traveling across the border from Syria, conducted detainee release missions and provided convoy security throughout the province.

“We choked off the supply of weapons and money on the route to Mosul, (Iraq),” said Cpl. Shane J. Radcliff, 23, machine gunner, Company D. “We found a few individuals with large amounts of money on their persons, who were later detained.”

One notable accomplishment of Company D was their effort in the overseeing of the January pre-election security, coordinated with members of the Iraqi Security Operations in their area of operations. 

“Everything we did for the elections, we did prior to the elections happening,” said Radcliff, who is also a team leader for Company D from Wenham, Mass. “We helped the Iraqi Army prepare (for the elections). The weeks prior to the elections we provided many more presence patrols to ease the minds of the locals. We went to the polls almost every day with (working dogs) to show a presence and to make sure the site was secure.”

“We did a lot of work for the election in January.  We had no incidents and a real good voter turn out,” Burke added. “We were strictly in support of the Iraqi Army as a quick reaction force.”

During the elections, the Iraqi Army took the reigns in the area, conducting security patrols to ensure the day went smoothly.

“The actual day of the elections, the Iraqi Army were the only ones patrolling and providing security,” said Radcliff, who works in construction management. “This is the first time they did everything themselves for the elections.”

The Marines of Company D redeployed to Camp Pendleton in late April and are scheduled to return soon to their respective home training centers and continue preparing for future deployments.

1st Marine Division