AL QA'IM, Iraq --
The “Warlords” of Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 began a seven-month deployment to Al Qa’im, Iraq, in mid-April.
The battalion executed a relief-in-place with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines, and will now aid their Iraqi counterparts in combined-arms counterinsurgency and regional welfare operations.
“We observed the tactics and techniques of Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, and learned about the area of operations,” said Lt. Col. Steven J. Grass, commanding officer, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines. “After a few days, our Marines took charge and will now step off and begin our mission to help Iraqis take control of their destiny.”
Upon arriving to Al Qa’im, members of 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines have met with several of the government leaders in their area to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone.
“When units in the past transitioned into Al Qa’im, there have been noticeable changes viewed by the local populous,” said Farhan Tekan Farhan, the mayor of Al Qa’im, through an interpreter. “The locals haven’t felt a change since this transition began, which leads me to believe everyone has been very well informed and prepared.”
From infantrymen to administrative clerks, every Marine has heard the phrase, “Every Marine is a rifleman.” Every Warlord put his combat skills to the test through pre-deployment training; however, preparing for this deployment required them to attain skills beyond kinetics.
“Our Marines stepped out of their molds as warfighters to become teachers, ambassadors and mentors,” Grass said. “Providing security and essentials used to improve the quality of life are the keys to success here.”
One project currently underway supports the quality of life, and in some cases, possibly life itself.
“We are currently working on several irrigation projects,” said Grass. “Projects like this will help them get on track to becoming self sufficient.”
Through the Iraqis’ dedication and hard work, and support from the battalion as needed, the Iraqis hope to make leaps and bounds toward security, prosperity and self-reliance for the inhabitants of Al Qa’im and surrounding areas.
“I am very confident in the Americans,” said Farhan. “I know that by working together we will achieve success by improving the many aspects of life here.”