KARMAH, Iraq -- The Iraqi Army’s 1st Battalion, 4th Regiment, 1st Brigade assumed the battle space in and around the city of Nasser Wa Salaam which is in Regimental Combat Team – 8’s area of responsibility. Now the unit wants to extend its area of operations by assuming more of the area east of the city of Fallujah to include Karmah.
Members of the Iraqi Army battalion already show their presence in the city here by conducting patrols with Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment and conducting raids in the near-by areas to capture possible insurgents.
“The IA’s that are with Company G are doing a great job of showing their presence in the city of Karmah,” said Capt. Joel F. Schmidt, Company G’s commander. “They go on daily patrols in the city with small groups of Marines and are doing most of the planning for the patrols themselves.”
Before one afternoon patrol an Iraqi lieutenant and staff sergeant were planning out the route for a patrol with the help of Staff Sgt. Jason P. Bennett. Using a transparency as an overlay for the route, the two IA soldiers traced their planned route with checkpoints.
The IA soldiers and Marines were then given their pre-patrol brief of the route and the plan for the patrol. With the Marines dispersed throughout the formation, the patrol left friendly lines to keep the city of Karmah safe from insurgents.
“The patrol went smooth with no incidents,” said Bennett. “The Iraqi Army soldiers get better every day they go out on a patrol.”
On that same evening, in the cover of darkness, the Iraqi Army with support from Company G Marines conducted a raid in the town of Karmah searching for suspected insurgents.
Staging in separate areas for the two simultaneous raids, the IA soldiers and Marines moved through the city to their assigned houses. At 2:00 a.m. the word was given for the two groups to hit their first house.
Hitting two different target areas with separate groups, they searched the houses for suspicious items and weapons. Each group searched their assigned houses. They talked to the residents and thoroughly searched the premises for suspected insurgents and weapons caches. They then patrolled back through the city to friendly lines. It was another success for the Marines and IA in Karmah.
“The Iraqi Army soldiers keep getting better and better each week that goes by,” Schmidt stated. “They get more used to and familiar with the city each time they do an operation, when they take over this area as well they will be ready.”