ANAH, Iraq --
Marines have continuously adapted their warfare tactics to achieve victory in battle for more than 200 years.
This concept is deeply rooted in military history, stemming back to the earliest known military strategist, Sun Tzu, who stated, “Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.”
On the threshold of success, the Marines of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Task Force Wolfpack, Regimental Combat Team 2, have modified their inherent mindset to ensure the future of a prospering region.
In the bustling city streets of Anah, Iraq, the Marines walk a foot patrol ready to engage in a varied manner.
“As a Marine infantryman, the mindset is going out, closing with and destroying the enemy, but we’ve had to adapt to the environment” said Sgt. Steven A. Ruddle, the squad leader for 2nd squad, 3rd platoon, Company K. “Instead of going to a house and knocking down the door, we’re knocking on the door, politely talking to individuals and building relationships.”
While the threat of violence is diminishing with the suppression of the final terrorist cells in the area, the locals are recognizing the value of their relationship with the Marines.
“The people here are very supportive and want to work with us,” said Ruddle, a native of Waynesboro, Tn. “They understand that they can come to us for anything.”
The Marines rapport with local citizens is only an initial step. Building a strong bond with the Iraqi police and the Iraqi army is proving to be the true key to progress.
“Our overall mission is to try to take the backburner to the (Iraqi Police) and the (Iraqi Army) to allow coalition forces to be able to slowly fade out of the area,” Ruddle said. “When I first came here, I was very optimistic about working this close with the (Iraqi Police). I didn’t know if I could trust them, but the reality is, I can. They’re very professional, and we’re all in this together.”
Working together as one cohesive unit allows both Iraqis and Marines to become more effective at their jobs.
“We’re helping them in areas that they may still need to grow in, and there are things we learn from them too,” Ruddle said.
The fact that Marines are building relationships with the various facets of Iraqi society is helping to bring everyone together, united, to pursue the same ultimate goal.
“The people, the government, the (Iraqi Police) and the (Iraqi Army) all have to be willing to step up and take control of their own country,” said Ruddle. “They have, and they are making great progress.”
The ever evolving conditions of Operation Iraqi Freedom have kept coalition
forces on their toes, but adapting and overcoming is the mindset that has kept Company
K grounded on the threshold of success.