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3/23 de-mobilizes, heads to new combat outpost

22 Feb 2008 | Lance Cpl. Shawn Coolman

“We need bodies from every shop to help start de-mobilizing the Forward Operation Base,” were the words that started the day off for the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.

 Working parties for 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines gathered to begin de-mobilizing the FOB here Friday in preparation for the unit’s moving to a new combat outpost outside of the city.

 “I think (the move) will be good; it will give the city a chance to stand on its feet and see how the Iraqi Security Force reacts on their own without as much help from the Coalition Forces,” said Sgt. Jarod D. Barry, 26, a mortarman with 3rd Bn., 23rd Marines, from Dayton, Ohio.

 Times are changing in Haditha City. In the past, Coalition Forces have been a staple in the lives of many Iraqis, but now with the security in the region improving, Coalition Forces are returning the responsibility to the Iraqis.

 “We’re giving the city back to the people so they can return to normalcy,” said Master Sgt. Cortez L. Pree, 37, operation chief for 3rd Bn., 23rd Marines, from Texarkana, Ark. “(We are also) letting the (Iraqi Police) take more control of the city so the people can have more confidence in their abilities.

 This is a big step forward for the residents here and for the Coalition Forces in the area.

 “This lets the people know that progress is being made and we want the people to have their lives back without much assistance from the Coalition Forces,” said Pree.

 Although 3rd Bn., 23rd Marines, is moving, the Marines here still have a mission to accomplish and operations to conduct.

 “The Marines mission is not really going to change; we will continue our daily patrols,” said Pree. “But we are going to be back-seat to the Iraqis, push them forward and make them accountable for the city.”

 “We’re reducing our efforts to show how far the ISF have come,” added Pree.