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2nd Marine Division assumes control of Al Anbar province

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 20053215445
Story by Sgt. Stephen D'Alessio

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Ramadi, Iraq (March 17, 2005) -- The 2nd Marine Division's high operational tempo and level of training over the past few months have conditioned the unit for combat operations in its new area of responsibility -- the Al Anbar province.

The 2nd Marine "Tarawa" Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, is now heading up operations from Camp Blue Diamond here within the Sunni Triangle, replacing the 1st Marine Division after their successful 12-month tour.

Although this is the first time in years the 2nd Marine Division headquarters has been fully forward deployed, the unit's leadership is confident that the transition from the 1st Marine Division to the 2nd Marine Division will be very smooth due to the experience gained on prior deployments into volatile environments.

The recent deployments of many of the Tarawa Division's units have provided a wealth of experience and expertise from which to support its current mission in Iraq. Evidence of this can be found in the professionalism and experience each unit has displayed in operations around the globe.

One example of such a deployment was 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment's return from Haiti in June 2004, where they conducted four months of stability and security operations. There the Marines forged their skills in the cramped streets of Port-au-Prince applying many of the same techniques being used here in house-to-house security operations.

Many of the units currently deployed with the Tarawa Division have previously conducted similar operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan and are veterans of this type of counter-insurgency operations.

"We are a task organized Marine unit with an amalgamation of strengths from units all over the world," said Col. Bob Chase, 2nd Marine Division operations officer. "You can't tell me another unit in the world that can do that on such a large scale. We fight hard; we fight right."

This experience has also prepared the Marines of Tarawa Division to continue working with the local Iraqi Security Forces on security and stabilization operations, which began after Marine Corps units assumed control of the region more than a year ago.

"One of our main focuses here is training with the ISF," said Chase. "We'll see some fights out here, but the good news is we won't do it alone."

With the recent Iraqi elections, the local military has stepped into a larger role according to Chase. The Tarawa Division is taking action to help strengthen the bond between the Marines and the Iraqi Security Forces. In turn, it is the division's goal to share more of the responsibility for security and stabilization in the region with the ISF.

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