JAZEERAH, Iraq --
JAZEERAH, Iraq (August 9, 2008) – More than 700 Iraqi Provincial Security Forces successfully completed Operation Jazeera Sweep Aug. 9, with over-watch and security assistance from 1st Platoon, Company C, Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1.
Members of Iraqi Army’s Sabbatine Battalion made up the majority of the security forces taking part in the operation.
The battalion is a “disciplined and highly professional” PSF battalion which is building a reputation to become Iraq’s version of the U.S. Marine Corps, said Capt. Thomas Schwabenbauer, 1st platoon commander with Company C.
Exploiting intelligence they received from local authorities, the security forces conducted a sweep of the Jazeerah area to seek out insurgents.
To date, Sabbatines have completed multiple successful operations in Ramadi, Fallujah, Mosul and Karma. This was their first joint operation with 1st Bn, 2nd Marines, which officially took control of the area of responsibility Aug. 10.
Marines acted as a command and control element, offering assistance when needed.
“There really wasn’t much we needed to do,” explained Lance Cpl. Chris Filgo, a 20-year-old squad automatic weapon rifleman from Baton Rouge, La. “The Sabbatines were aggressive toward the mission and are well trained.”
Despite their large numbers, the Sabbatines were well organized, timely, professional and systematic. They searched the area in sections, cordoning off possible egress routes insurgents might use to escape.
“They were very tactical in their procedures,” said Schwabenbauer. “They operate fast and are deliberate with their actions, but remain cognizant of adjacent units.”
The PSF and Marines successfully took into custody more than 20 suspects and unearthed a small weapons cache. Detainees were taken to a local Iraqi Police station to be questioned by Iraqi authorities.
Although small, the discovery of the cache “shows the community that Iraqis are taking control, and not allowing insurgents into the area,” explained Schwabenbauer.
“Operations like this assist in the transfer to Provincial Iraqi Control,” said Lance Cpl. Lane Sherer, a 19-year-old rifleman from Hollywood, Fla. “The Sabbatines were greeted warmly by the (Iraqi citizens during the operation), and you could tell there was a great deal of faith and respect.”
The Iraqi-led operation helped to secure the communities’ faith that U.S. forces are no longer controlling every aspect of security operations. More often than not, ISF operate separate from American forces and ask for assistance and over-watch only when needed.