Photo Information

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A Marine with Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division reunites with a loved one during the unit's homecoming reception here Feb. 23. The Marines and sailors had been conducting counterinsurgency operations in far western Iraq since March 2005, where they helped liberate 10 cities, establish a permanent Iraqi Security Force presence and kill more than 800 insurgents.

Photo by Cpl. Mike Escobar

Tarawa Regiment homebound after year’s worth of combat ops

23 Feb 2006 | Cpl. Mike Escobar 2nd Marine Division

Personnel from the 2nd Marine Regiment returned here Feb. 23 after having conducted approximately one year’s worth of counterinsurgency operations overseas.

The Marines and sailors operated under the name of Regimental Combat Team-2 alongside several Army units to secure the westernmost region of Iraq’s turbulent Al Anbar province.

According to Col. Stephen W. Davis, RCT-2’s commanding officer, his troops met with success in disrupting and interdicting terrorist activity there, as well as helping stand up an independent, strong Iraqi Security Force throughout the previously lawless areas bordering Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan.

“We basically put a permanent, persistent presence into areas like Hit, Haditha and Haqlaniyah,” added Lt. Col. Christopher Starling, RCT-2’s operations officer, as he cited some of the 10 cities the regiment’s infantrymen helped liberate from the insurgency.  “We shattered insurgent cells operating where they had had free movement before.”

Infantrymen operating within RCT-2 killed more than 800 insurgents and detained approximately 3,000, Starling continued.  Additionally, they established numerous checkpoints within Rutbah to further limit terrorist access into the city.

One of the unit’s most noteworthy accomplishments, however, was establishing two ISF brigades, comprised of thousands of the nations’ own troops.  Only 34 Iraqi soldiers were operating in the RCT-2’s area of responsibility when the unit took charge of it March 17, 2005.   

Nearly one year later, the regiment’s troops look back proudly on their accomplishments in Iraq as they celebrate coming home to friends and families.

“It feels wonderful to be home,” remarked Sgt. Tyler Govert, an intelligence analyst with RCT-2 and Tribune, Kan. native as he held his two-year-old daughter, Alexus.  “There’s no other feeling quite like this.”

“I feel relieved that he can help me out with our daughter now,” added his wife, Brooke Govert.  “It feels absolutely wonderful to have him back.”