AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Marines from Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and soldiers from the Iraqi Army recently conducted a security patrol through the streets here Nov. 16.
This patrol was different than the usual presence patrol in that the Iraqis were in charge of the planning and execution of the operation, said 2nd Lt. Larry Iverson, 3rd Platoon commander for Company I.
“I let them run the whole thing today,” said Iverson. “I was told which area of town we needed to go through by the company commander and I let the Iraqis plan the rest. The Marines were just there to make sure nothing went wrong and to critique them when the patrol was finished.”
The platoon left Camp Ramadi in the early afternoon, picking up the IA from their home on Camp Ali before heading to the operation site. Soon after dismounting from the trucks, the IA took charge and began searching homes and speaking with residents to find information about local insurgent groups.
“The people in town seem more responsive to the Iraqi Army coming into their homes than the Marines,” said Iverson. “They seem to be more relaxed and more willing to talk about what is going on in the city. It shows how important the IA is to our success here.”
Although a simple patrol, the Iraqi Army showed remarkable improvements in the planning and execution of the mission. The fact that the Iraqis were able to conduct the mission with almost no help from the Marines really shows the improvements made by the Iraqi Army and the quality of instruction by the Marines at Camp Ramadi.
“This operation was a complete success, I think,” said Iverson. “It met the needs of the Marine Corps and provided an opportunity for the Iraqi Army to practice the things they will need to be able to do when they are running their own country.”
The operation concentrated on a neighborhood in central Ramadi, which allowed the Iraqis to practice movements in an urban environment. The two squads of Iraqis had a team of Marines embedded with them to provide guidance and communications during the patrol. However, the Iraqis quickly proved they were more than able to handle the operation.
“Some of the Iraqi squads are getting very confident and are handling these kinds of movements a lot better than they used to,” said Iverson. “The whole goal of these joint operations is to train the IA well enough that we can hand off part of the city to them.”