CAMP GANNON, Iraq --
Marines with Company G, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 spend the majority of their days patrolling and providing escorts through the streets of Husaybah, Sadah and Karabilah.
Insurgency-related incidents in these towns now come few and far between, and the area is no longer the combat zone the Marines once knew.
“I expected to kick in some doors and fire my weapon, but nothing combat related has really happened yet,” said Lance Cpl. Omar Reed, a rifleman with 4th Platoon, Company G.
Although the cities which Company G patrols may seem secure, the Marines remain conscious of the enemy’s presence and the possibility of attacks.
“We’ve written the phrase ‘complacency kills’ on one exit,” said 1st Lt. Miguel Barcelo, 4th Platoon commander, Company G. “This reminds the men that we still need to expect something to happen every day.”
Though the Marines of Company G are prepared for any mission that they are asked to do, they have learned that deadly force is their last resort.
“The Marines are no longer fighting with bullets, rockets and hand grenades; instead they use communication skills, smiles and handshakes,” Barcelo said. “At this stage of the game, we’re dealing with enemies in hiding, so gathering information through reconnaissance is a huge part of our mission.
The Marines here are now playing a more informative role than getting involved with the physical fight. They notify Iraqi Security Forces of the situations that need to be dealt with and support them when needed.
Barcelo said one continuous goal passed from the previous battalion who occupied the area is to set the groundwork for Iraqi police in the area to be self sufficient. The Marines help find the action, but they make sure the police carry out the operations.
The Iraqi police have progressed in the fight against the insurgency, but Barcelo plans to help them make a few improvements regarding their public relations.
“They have to establish relationships between themselves and the local populous, so people come to them when they need help,” he said.
The job may not end before Company G completes their tour, but they plan to continue the tradition previous battalions have kept up.
“I hope that I can leave as good of an impression on the locals as the last battalion,” Barcelo said. “The Marines of (3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment) set a great foundation here that we will continue to build on.”