BARWANAH, Iraq(Aug. 2, 2006) — Despite a recent rash of insurgent attacks, Marines in Barwanah, Iraq, say they are making notable progress equipping the Iraqi Army with the skills to take over security operations in this city of 30,000 nestled along the Euphrates River northwest of Baghdad.
Less than a month ago the soldiers and Marines formed a mounted mobile assault platoon – or “MAP,” as the Marines call it – capable of responding quickly to enemy attacks against Coalition Forces on foot.
The new platoon proved to be a big step for Iraqi forces – the MAP platoon captured 8 insurgents after responding to a firefight between Marines on foot and local insurgents.
Mounted in humvees, the mobile assault platoon gives Iraqi Security Forces here the means to respond to incidents much quicker than on foot, said Capt. Michael Hudson, commanding officer of Lima Company of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
The Hawaii-based Marine battalion has spent four-plus months now in the Haditha Triad region, which includes Barwanah, fighting insurgents, working with locals to improve local economy and quality of life, and training Iraqi soldiers.
“We are spending all day patrolling the city with the Iraqi Army to combat insurgents and cut down on their attacks,” said 2nd Lt. Chris Toomey, 24, a Lima Company platoon commander. “I am impressed with the way the soldiers are handling the attacks and interacting with the local populace.” …
God bless ‘em.