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Marines from Company C, Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, load equipment from Karmah Iraqi Police Station December 18. Marines departed KIPS throughout December as Iraqi police have progressed their operational capabilities and no longer need direct assistance from Coalition Forces. (U.S. Marine Corps Released)

Photo by LCpl Geoffrey T. Campbell

Marines depart Karmah police station

20 Dec 2008 | Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis 1st Marine Division

Coalition forces departed Karmah’s Iraqi Police Station throughout December, leaving the station to be manned by Iraqi Police as they progress toward self-sustainment.

The Karmah IP Station served a pivotal role in coordinating efforts with the Iraqi Police. As security in the greater Karmah region continues to improve, Marines from Company C, Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, are ending their presence there.

Marines lived and worked at the station to support operations in Central Karmah, posting security, patrolling with the police, and assisting any other Coalition forces in the area. As Iraqi Police continue to grow in proficiency and dependability the platoon sized element of Marines no longer need to operate out of the station.

Since the beginning of 1st Bn., 3rd Marines’ deployment, Karmah’s Iraqi Police Station was a joint effort. Marines supplemented operations and any security initiatives. As the decoupling process commences, Iraqi Police will begin taking operations and any security into their own hands.

“It’s time to turn the Iraqi [operating bases] back to them,” said Capt. Paul Stubbs, the 36-year-old company commander from San Jose, Company C, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines.

The Marines who called the station home since the start of the deployment began packing their bags and prepared to depart the station at the beginning of December.

“We don’t want to be an intrusive presence,” Stubbs said. “We’re not needed there as much as we used to be. We’re able to move out and let them take control.”

The decrease of Coalition forces in Central Karmah further demonstrates Iraq’s progress to a self-sustaining, democratic government. The move coincides with future operations as Marines will be less likely needed for Iraqi operations.

“We were the main effort in the city,” said Lance Cpl. David Miller, a 20-year-old machine-gunner from Lake Charles, La., with weapons platoon, Company C, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines. “When we first got there we went out all the time. It was a fast tempo, and they got better because of it.”

Local Iraqi Forces continue to take control and mature as a self-sustaining security force in the Greater Karmah Region as Marines continue transitioning to an overwatch position.

“We’re taking off the training wheels and getting the Band-Aids ready,” Stubbs added. “It’s a very challenging job, but they’re as ready as we can get them.”

1st Marine Division