RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 26, 2008) --
The days of kicking in doors and large scale operations are quickly becoming a thing of the past in Iraq.
Instead, Coalition forces’ main focus is rebuilding Iraq and continuing to ensure Iraqi Security Forces have the means available to ensure post-Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC) security.
Now more than a month into their deployment, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, has been successful at picking up where their predecessors with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, left off.
“1/9 did a good job of making sure that we knew everything that we needed to know before they left,” said Sgt. Brian D. Allen, a 33-year-old rifleman from Bixby, Okla., with Weapons Company, 2nd Bn., 9th Marines. “Now, we’re trying to get Iraq to stand on its own two feet. We’re teaching and mentoring the Iraqi Police (IPs) so that they can be seen as a professional organization.”
The company’s forward operating base is located within Ramadi’s city limits, allowing the Marines to work with Iraqi Police and the community on a daily basis.
“The company is executing vehicle patrols and presence patrols every day,” Allen said. “The locals see our faces and know that we’re still here and it seems like they like that.”
The Marines are hoping to help the Iraqi people establish their government and economy, and put an Iraqi face to the solutions of Iraqi problems.
They are also optimistic about the eventual success of the transfer to Provincial Iraqi Control in al Anbar, and confident that when it comes time to turn security throughout Iraq back over to its people, it will be a smooth process.
“The Iraqis will eventually take over (all security responsibility) and won’t need our help anymore,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Casey, a 19-year-old mortarman from Panama City, Fla., with the company. “We’re putting everything in the Iraqis hands and helping them out when they need it, and I think that will help them in the long run.”
In a short period of time, Marines with the company have established themselves within the Ramadi community as a unit the people can go to for aid, and they plan to continue assisting them as much as they can.
“We’ve still got a lot of time left here and we’re going to make the best out of it and help the Iraqis as much as possible,” Allen said.