COMBAT OUTPOST RAWAH, Iraq --
The expeditionary nature of the Marine Corps requires a responsive and capable force able to adapt to the ever-changing mission of the Global War on Terror and operations in Iraq.
Marines and sailors with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, completed a battalion-wide movement from Habbaniyah, Iraq, to here and are adapting to their new area of operations. The battalion now falls under the command of Regimental Combat Team 5 in western al-Anbar province.
“As Marines, we are able to pick up and move to follow the mission,” explained Maj. Roy Ezell, 36, the battalion’s operations officer.
A shift in the battalion’s operational tempo is evident, though the Marines feel assured they will continue to build on the successes of the units that preceded them.
“Our mission to provide assistance to the Iraqis hasn’t changed,” explained Sgt. Brian Licht, 24, a squad leader with 1st Bn., 2nd Marines from Katy, Texas. “The capacity and method in which we assist the Iraqis will be re-evaluated now that we are in a new area.
“It is imperative that Iraqis take the lead every way they can,” said Licht. “We are continuing to act as facilitators and focusing combat operations when needed.”
Compared to the battalion’s former area, Ezell explained that Rawah is further along in the transitional process and highly developed with a stable government that is able to provide for the community it represents.
“(Iraqi Security Forces) operate freely from Coalition force influence, and the need for us has decreased,” explained Ezell, who is from Jacksonville, N.C. “We will continue key leader engagements and allow Iraqis to come to the forefront (of security and governance).”
By acting as advisors and providing an overwatch element, the battalion will continue to work with ISF and the local town governments. These efforts will continue to facilitate a unified, democratic and federal Iraq that can sustain a democratic government and defend itself against those looking to reverse the political and military gains made over the past years.