KARMA, Iraq --
The state of Iraq is a complex affair that involves many variables to its solution. Culture, foreign policy, tribal leaders, sheiks, local and provincial security, and government are all pieces to a much larger puzzle.
Coalition forces in the al Anbar province have incorporated these factors and are successfully aiding the transition of control over to the Iraqi people. One of the type of units that play a significant part in this process are the Military Transition Teams.
The MTTs work directly along-side Iraqi Army units, providing them guidance, training and modern tactics to combat the insurgency. The MTTs also take an active role with community leaders maintaining good relationships and helping with any problems or concerns with security. One of these teams is the 2nd Brigade MTT, Regimental Combat Team 1.
The 2nd Brigade MTT Marines and sailors work side-by-side with the Iraqi Army 2nd Brigade in the Fallujah area. And to help sustain stability in the region, they and fellow Marine units, who operate in the area, continually visit local officials through weekly security meetings.
“What takes place at these meetings is that the folks from Karma, local tribal leaders, and sheiks come together with the mayor of Fallujah, Iraqi police and army leaders and coalition forces to talk about security,” said Maj. Andre Salvanera, 2nd Brigade MTT. “…Security in the sense of what is needed, or what needs to be change in order to provide a safer Karma.”
The city of Karma is part of the out-going 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, RCT-1 and in-coming 2 Battalion, 3rd Marines Regiment’s battlespace. During their deployment in the al Anbar province, the Marines of 3/3 have built standing relationships with the people of Karma through these meetings.
“The commanding officer of 3/3 has developed a situation here where we can promote peace in an effective way through the locals. Even though our presence here is great, we also use these meetings to encourage them to take care of matters themselves.”
The once hotbed of insurgency city, has made drastic improvements by simply getting the community involved in protecting their neighborhoods and hearing what they have to say.
“We’re here to talk with people, building relations,” said Cpl. Jamal Hambrick, assaultman, 2nd brigade MTT, a Chattanooga, Tenn. Native. “We’re going to be here for awhile. So it’s important to get to know them, meet face to face, and let them know that we’re on the same team to make Iraq a better place. We’re all here to do the same job, It’s now their turn to take over and have the Sons of Iraq, IPs, IAs work together. So far they’re making strides and
that’s a big step from where we were last year.”