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Photo Information

07/12/2007 06:48:56 AM

Photo by Cpl. Eric C. Schwartz

Marines, Iraqi Army prove command, control capability

12 Jul 2007 | Cpl. Eric C. Schwartz

The small towns in the Ibrahimiyah Peninsula arose early morning to the Iraqi Army and Marines with Weapons Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, searching the area for signs of insurgent activity.

“The Iraqi Army planned everything,” said Sgt. David Collins, a platoon sergeant with Weapons Company, TF 1/4, RCT- 2. “The operation was their idea and concept.”

Two Iraqi Army battalions, along with help from coalition forces, completely planned the operation, demonstrating their capability for future success in their country.

“The IA 3rd Brigade put together all elements in command and control of the operation,” said Capt. Jeff Dyal, the operations officer for TF 1/4, “planning, coordinating and executing the whole mission.”

Marines from Task Force 1/4 worked alongside the IA searching homes for weapons, contraband, improvised explosive devices’ materials and known insurgents.

“We followed the IA to each city and were there to provide cover if they needed the help,” Collins said.

The operation spanned the Ibrahimiyah Peninsula consisting of small, scattered towns normally unreachable because of their remote location. Although Iraqi Army planned operations aren’t new, the sheer size of this operation was a relatively uncharted territory.

“The smaller operations in the past have been well organized, but the size of this one went well,” Collins said.

Each home was thoroughly searched in each of the four towns visited, and it was all done in one day.

“They could interact with the people entering the houses much easier because these people are like themselves,” Dyal said.

“The IA moved pretty fast through the towns,” said Cpl. Christian Whitehead, a tow-gunner with Weapons Company, TF 1/4.

The organization of the IA made the movement between towns’ fluid and fast while the buildings were searched completely through.

“The IA’s officers had good accountability of their soldiers,” said Cpl. Jesse Trumble, a rifleman with the Military Transition Team attached to TF 1/4. “The jundi, or soldiers, could search quickly and thoroughly, since everyone knew where everyone was supposed to be.”

The IA, along with the Marines, collected all of the intelligence found during the mission along with one possible insurgent.

Operation Justice Reach stretched out to the normally unchecked Ibrahimiyah Peninsula that day, showing the townspeople the IA haven’t forgotten about their security.

“They really have the basics down perfectly,” Collins said. “The IA used good vehicle dispersion, cordon and searches were smooth and fast, and they seemed to have an overall control of the mission.”

With each successful IA mission, the IA’s prove themselves capable of taking responsibility for larger areas.

“It’s a transition of responsibility we’re working on giving to the IA,” Dyal said.

“This is the first step in transitioning battle space and allowing the Marines to move into an over-watch position,” Dyal said.

The IA proved their capability of command and control during Operation Justice Reach and will eventually be given control of the area.