SAHL SINJAR, Iraq --
First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8, relinquished its operational responsibilities in Iraq’s Ninewa province, Iraq to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, April 7, 2009. Operating from a remote airfield near the Sinjar Mountains, the Marines of 1st LAR Bn. spent the majority of their seven-month deployment interdicting smuggling and conducting reconnaissance in the open desert terrain.
“As the first sizable ground combat element in this area, we were able to assist the Iraqi Security Forces by slowing and restricting the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons coming into Mosul,” said Lt. Col. Scott D. Leonard, commanding officer of 1st LAR Bn. “We coordinated our efforts by, with and through the ISF, allowing them to take the lead in security operations in Ninewa Province.”
The Highlanders of 1st LAR spent much of their time in Ninewa living out of their vehicles and staying “outside the wire” for as many as 75 days at a time, returning to Sinjar Airfield for only a few days to rest, shower and refit.
“We are a stronger, more capable warfighting team because of the efforts of 1st LAR,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth R. Kassner, commanding officer of 3rd LAR Bn. “It’s exciting to be back to continue the war effort and the many successes the Marines have had in [Operation Iraqi Freedom].”
Now, as 1st LAR Bn. prepares to return to Camp Pendleton, Calif., the Marines and sailors of 3rd LAR Bn. will take over in an area spanning hundreds of miles of desert and mountains.
“The Wolf Pack now stands ready to continue the distinguished accomplishments of the entire LAR community in combat,” said Kassner.
As the Iraqi Security Forces continue to take control of Ninewa province, they will have the continued support from a light armored reconnaissance battalion ready to go anywhere and do whatever it takes to provide peace and security for the Iraqi people.
For more information on the ongoing mission in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, visit www.iimefpublic.usmc.mil/iimeffwd.