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Marines with Charlie Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, search underneath a highway bridge while conducting cache sweeps in western al-Anbar province, Iraq, April 10. The battalion, based out of Camp Lejuene, N.C., was replaced by 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, RCT-5 after completing their combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

2nd LAR Bn. concludes successful tour in Iraq

10 Oct 2008 | Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

After successfully participating in their fifth tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Marines and sailors with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, passed on their area of operations to 1st LAR Bn., RCT-5, and 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, RCT-5, and are returning home to the United States.

“The Task Force 2nd LAR (Bn.)’s Marines and sailors should be extremely proud of their efforts. They made a tremendous difference in the lives of the Iraqi people,” said Lt. Col. Russell E. Smith, battalion commander, 2nd LAR Bn. “(The Iraqi people) are safer, and the conditions are set to allow the people to rebuild the country.”

During the deployment, the battalion was split into two task forces covering an area of operations approximately the size of South Carolina. In a six-month period, the unit was able to improve the security for key towns such as Akashat and Rutbah.  The battalion also assisted in transitioning the responsibility for security of many of the towns in the area to Iraqi Security Forces.

“At the beginning of the deployment, the mayor and the people were concerned for their own security and the water problem in the area,” said Smith. “Now, the people aren’t concerned for their safety. They are (focused) on the schools, employment and rebuilding the city. The largest success of the battalion is the people are now taking care of each other without fear of security.”

The battalion continued to conduct counterinsurgency operations in the area by patrolling the vast desert of western al-Anbar province.  Whether locating and destroying cache sites or setting up checkpoints to search vehicles, 2nd LAR Bn. always made sure to make life difficult for anyone wishing to cause harm to Coalition forces or the people of Iraq.

 “(The battalion) was able to improve the area’s security and the welfare of the people,” said 1st Sgt. Rogelio Burboa, 38, company first sergeant of Delta Company, 2nd LAR Bn. 

Even with the success that 2nd LAR Bn. had, there is still work to be done. 

“The LAR community is like a big family, and there will be no difference between the units replacing 2nd LAR Bn.,” said Smith, 44, from Rochester, N.H.  “I believe they will easily be able to carry on my battalion’s success and accomplish great things on their own.”

The Marines and sailors with 2nd LAR Bn. will return home to their families in the near future. The future operations remain uncertain for the battalion, but they will be prepared for whatever may come next.

“These guys did a great job. Every time I went out to see them, the Marines, sailors and soldiers were putting out 100 percent effort to make sure the Iraqis were taken care of,” said Smith.