CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq --
CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (August 10, 2008) – Since June 28, 2004, when the Coalition Provisional Authority officially transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government, Marines have done their part to assist the Iraqi people in building a unified Iraq with the political and economic stability needed to govern itself.
Marines with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, have hit the sands of Camp Habbaniyah with a passion for their mission. The battalion officially took control of the area from 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Aug. 10.
Inheriting an area of operations in an increasingly peaceful Iraq, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines will conduct partnered operations and build civic and Iraqi Security Force capabilities to enable a self-reliant and legitimate local security and government apparatus that facilitates transition and provincial Iraqi control.
“We want to see the Iraqis put their face on the mission while we are here to provide over-watch and reassure them they are doing right,” explained Staff Sgt. Issac Sato, a platoon sergeant with the battalion’s Quick Reaction Force.
Taking the reins from their predecessor of the area, 1st Bn., 2nd Marines are working hand-in-hand with the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police and the civilian populous to improve the quality of life.
The steps the Iraqi people are taking, with the help of Marines, are crucial because, “With Saddam gone and violence down, the Iraqis want their own country and in order to do that they have to take the lead,” said Sato.
Marines have trained across the whole spectrum of warfare, from high intensity conflict to the complex nature of a counter insurgency environment. But now the Marines of 1st Battalion, 2d Marines are helping Iraqis help themselves to improve their infrastructure and develop governance and security at the local level.
“The cohesion and camaraderie, in addition to training, has prepared the leadership as well as the individual Marine to successfully complete every mission,” said Maj. Gordon Miller, the battalion’s executive officer.
Miller stressed the importance of building a unified community by working with the people for security, governance and essential services. “Success will come when Iraqis handle everything themselves,” he said.
Marines and their Iraqi brethren have the “knowledge, skill and will to make it happen,” said Miller.