Featured News
Photo Information

Cpl. Michael Robinson, a 22-year-old motor transport operator from Glenmore, Pa., with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, attached to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, directs a heavy equipment operator towards a concrete barrier in Ramadi, June 18. Marines with 2nd CEB are doing their part to help clean up the streets and return a sense of normalcy to the people of Ramadi by removing any unnecessary materials resembling signs of war throughout the city.

Photo by Cpl. Stephen McGinnis

Cache sweeps to street sweeps, Ramadi missions change gears

18 Jun 2008 | Cpl. Stephen McGinnis

Ramadi, the Jewel of the Anbar province, bears along it streets and on the walls of the pockmarked buildings, the scars of war. The faces of its citizens show the memory of a historic city brought to near destruction by the vicious battles that have taken place in its streets for almost half a decade.

However, with recent security developments and cooperation between the Iraqi government, Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition forces, the city is returning to its proud status as the capital of Al Anbar.

The Iraqi people continue to progress forward and take the lead in fighting terrorists and rebuilding Ramadi. They are patching up the bullet holes, repaving war-torn streets, and the citizens are walking proudly with the look of hope in their eyes; the city is theirs again.

“The mayor is working to improve the city, build schools for the children and rebuild key facilities like the waste water facility, the electrical power plants, and a train station as well,” said 1st Lt. Marc B. Quesenberry, a 25-year-old combat engineer, from Floyd, Va., with Company C., 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, attached to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1.

These infrastructure advances are possible because of the ever growing relationship between Iraqi and Coalition forces. With the enhanced security and the renovations, Ramadi is quickly becoming a success story.

“The Iraqi Police, the Iraqi Highway Patrol, and the Provincial Security Forces have all played a very vital role in keeping the security inside and outside the city,” said Quesenberry.

With Iraqi forces manning the posts, actively patrolling the streets and engaging the locals, Marines are serving as advisors and can utilize their time to aid in other projects in efforts to improve the city.

Marines with Company C., 2nd CEB, attached to 1st Bn., 9th Marines, are doing their part to help clean up the streets and return a sense of pride to the people of Ramadi by removing any unnecessary materials resembling signs of war throughout the city.

“We are taking down concrete barriers as well as concertina wire, a collapsible reusable form of barbed wire, and moving any unnecessary military objects to return Iraq back to normalcy,” said Quesenberry.

Clearing away the barriers and concertina wire, much like the fall of the Berlin Wall is not just the removal of signs of war, but the symbolism of demilitarizing a city that hosted some of the most brutal house to house fighting Marines have seen since Hue City in Vietnam.

“With the change of the enemy environment and the change of us pulling back and moving towards an over watch position we are taking away some of those military looking objects so people don’t feel like they are in a war zone anymore,” said Quesenberry.

The mission for Marines in Ramadi has changed drastically over the last few years and now they are able to accomplish tasks they never thought would be possible.

“Last time I was here, I would have never thought about jumping out of a truck to get rid of a barrier, I would have been too worried it was booby trapped,” said Cpl. Michael Robinson, a 22-year-old motor transport operator from Glenmore, Pa., with 2nd CEB, attached to 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. 

For an outsider looking in, the time spent cleaning up Ramadi by many may seem tedious and not part of the mission for Marines in Iraq. However, many Marines look at it from a different standpoint and are proud of their accomplishments.   

“It’s not about the hard feelings, it’s not about everything that happened in the past, it shows Marines didn’t give their lives for nothing, the city is improving and there is something to show for their hard work and sacrifice,” said Sgt. Robert L. Sullivan, a combat engineer with C Co., 2nd CEB, attached to 1st Battalion, 9th Marines.

The hard work by both the Iraqis and the Marines is paying off. Ramadi, as well as the entire Anbar province is getting closer and closer to restoring the full beauty to its cities.                        


Tags