MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- With a loud roar of cheers, numerous hugs and kisses, and much celebration, the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment returned to Camp Lejeune on Feb. 11-13.
Having completed every mission the battalion commander put in front of them, the Marines of 2/2 have a reason to celebrate.
“I couldn’t have asked any more of the Marines and sailors of 2/2, they did an outstanding job with every mission they had to complete,” said Lt. Col. J. J. Minick, battalion commander.
“It feels great to be back in the U.S. with our families and loved ones,” said Aaron J. Latham, administrative clerk. “Knowing we were able to make a difference for many Iraqi families during the deployment.”
Having left to Iraq in the middle of July last year, the battalion headed for their second deployment to Iraq fighting the insurgency with great success. Helping to provide extra external security for the voting process on two occasions, they helped thousands of Iraqi’s turn out to cast their vote for the national referendum and the first ever, democratic election of their leaders.
Accomplishing their second goal of standing up Iraqi Army units and Iraqi Police in their area of operation, they succeeded in turning over the first Iraqi Army owned battle space in all of Al Anbar province. Running a five-day training schedule for each of the 16 platoons, this unit had a firm grasp of the basics of patrolling, weapons handling, and firm base operations.
The last goal of capturing or killing the enemy was also completed with resounding success. Completing hundreds of patrols, cordon and knocks, and cordon and search missions the battalion was able to detain many High Value Targets and detain approximately 550 suspected insurgents in their area of operation.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the Marines in 2/2 completed the three main tasks they were assigned to the fullest extent possible,” Minick stated.
Also completing a number of battalion sized operations that helped in detaining suspected insurgents, they also yielded the capture and destruction of tens of thousands of mortars, rockets, artillery shells, and small arms rounds. This severely hindered the insurgent’s ability to fight coalition forces and the Iraqi forces in and around Fallujah.
With a second successful deployment to Iraq under their belts the Marines know full well they have helped to shape a newly democratic country and helped them in their fight for freedom.