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Photo Information

KARABILAH, Iraq- (June 17, 2005) A member of the Iraqi Security Forces loads his automatic rifle. Operation Spear is conducted to destroy insurgency leadership strong points. The Marines of 2d Marine Division conduct counter-insurgency operations with Iraqi Security Forces to isolate and neutralize anti-Iraqi forces, to support the continued development of Iraqi Security Forces, and to support Iraqi reconstruction and democratic elections in order to create a secure environment that enables Iraqi self-reliance and self-governance. (Official USMC photo by Cpl Neill A. Sevelius)(RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Neill A. Sevelius

3/2 Marines, ISF complete Operation Romhe

20 Jun 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Iraqi Security Forces and Marines with 3rd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, completed their mission of clearing their area of the city here today to wrap-up the four-day Operation Romhe (Spear), conducted to destroy insurgent strongholds. Third Platoon was integrated with the ISF and the Marines allowed them to take control of clearing houses while they taught them different tactics and techniques during combat operations. “It was good to get them out here in this environment to get them ready to take control of their country,” explained Sgt. Derrick A. Popham, the 28-year-old platoon guide. According to Popham, the ISF was very proficient in clearing houses and patrolling. “They returned rounds, but they could have used more experience. I think that they gained that out here and learned a lot from us,” said the Six Mile, S.C., native. Popham said the two main things the Iraqi soldiers learned was how to gain fire superiority when they are engaged by the enemy and how to provide cover fire for each other while clearing houses. Lance Cpl. John P. Greco, a rifleman from Melbourne, Fla., was one of the Marines with the ISF during this operation. “It was good for us when they integrated into our team and they did a good job, but it was hard to communicate with them sometimes,” continued the 2003 Eau Gallie High School graduate. “They were really knowledgeable about clearing. It was hard at first getting them set in, but they got it and I think they learned a lot from us and we did from them.” On the last day of the operation, Greco’s team of Marines and ISF found a cache containing four protective vests, two German grenades, 10 to 15 AK-47 magazines, three AK-47s and two sniper rifles believed to be used during a firefight days prior. According to Popham, the ISF helped communicate with locals and gain intelligence from them. “They were able to question the local people and get rid of the language barrier that we have against us. It helped speed up the process of clearing,” Popham explained. The ISF soldiers were happy to be working with the Marines and learning from them. “I’m happy to get rid of these terrorists here. The Marines and Iraqi soldiers here work together well and I get along with Marines so well that it’s easy for me to learn from them,” said Pvt. Haithian Khodair, a 24-year-old Iraqi soldier. “I learned how to raid houses, clear them, engage the enemy and overall how to take care of myself in combat.” Overall, Popham said the ISF did a good job in their first combat operation. “Out here they experienced combat which I think gave them some more experience,” Popham said.