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Friday, 3-Feb-2006 23:45 Email | Share | | Bookmark
FINAL Commander's Update!

 


1 February 2006

Warlord Family and Friends,

I’m pleased to inform you this is the last newsletter of our deployment. In true Warlord fashion, your brave Men continue to perform with the same level of professionalism and dedication you would expect from this historic battalion. They have remained vigilant and attentive to their duties down to the last patrol and mission. We are currently in the process of conducting a Relief in Place (RIP) with the Marines of Task Force 1st Battalion, 1st Marines (TF 1/1). They are led exceptionally by a longtime, personal friend, LtCol David Furness. Both battalions have shown tremendous teamwork and cooperation in the execution of this complex and dangerous operation. The priority of the Warlords is to pass along all of our experience and knowledge to TF 1/1 and their leadership. The focus of the RIP is to provide valuable information and intelligence gleaned from our time in this battle space in order to carry forward the successes of Task Force 2/2 and other previous units. These actions will allow the Iraqi people continued support as they pursue freedom and democracy in their hopeful country.

Our final measure of success was achieved today as 1-4-1 Iraqi Army assumed battle space in a second city within our Area of Operations (AO). The Task Force now has two Iraqi Battalions operating independently for the security and stability of their country. This was our focus of effort during the deployment. I’m proud to report the significant success of your Marines and Sailors as they have accomplished this momentous achievement a second time. In Al Anbar, the most violent and contested province of Iraq, our Task Force has achieved what many felt was unattainable. However, through their brave and selfless efforts, alongside our valiant Iraqi Army brethren, the future of an autonomous and secure Iraq is imminent. We are all gratified and rewarded with this heroic triumph against the insurgency.

Like all difficult and challenging feats during war, these actions did not come without great heartache and loss of life. On January 24, the Warlords sustained another tragic blow. During a firefight, Sergeant Sean H. Miles of Company E, was struck and mortally wounded by enemy fire. In the course of heroic action, saving the life of one of his Marines, Sergeant Miles was lost. Sean was a Marine of the highest caliber and was revered by all that knew and served with him. He has had a significant impact on the entire Task Force. Our hearts and prayers reach out to his family as they struggle during this difficult and trying time. Rest in Peace, Warlord, you will be severely missed and never forgotten.

I know all the families and friends of the Warlords are anxious for information about our return. I will instruct all members of the Task Force to inform their families which flight they will arrive home on. The families will be able to get updates on APPROXIMATE arrival times to Camp Lejeune. Understand these times and dates will change as we move over a thousand Marines and Sailors half way around the world. Please remain patient. We endeavor to provide you the most up to date arrival information. Expect changes to occur due to a variety of reasons (flight delays, mechanical problems, and various other points of friction). This can be done by calling the duty office number (910) 451-3716 during the hours of 0730-2200 (EST) seven days a week or 1-800-230-8762 24 hrs a day. Simply call the 1-800 number, as the message starts, press “1” and then press “2” for your battalion. The 1-800 number will be updated as changes occur. We do not anticipate accurate information until February 7 and I recommend you not call until then. However, the good news is we expect the entire Task Force to arrive home within a 24-hour period, assuming all movements execute as planned. Below is the tentative arrival plan. I cannot emphasize TENTATIVE enough. We expect one or two new flights; however, at the time of this letter information was not available. Nevertheless, I wanted you to have the current information as we know it.

Flight # Arrival Date Arrival Time at Goettge Field house
One Feb 11th 1400
Two Feb 11th 2100
Three Feb 12th 0500
Four Feb 13th 1730

When we return, the Main Body will arrive at Goettge Field House (we’ll post directions on the website) http://www.iimefpublic.usmc.mil/2bn2mar. We’ll have food and activities for the kids. Most importantly, it will provide a warm place (with bathrooms) to wait for your Warlord. We’ll have signs posted from the front gate to the Field House. Bring a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration to the front gate in order to get a pass that allows you on base. At the Field House we will sell TF 2/2 memorabilia (T-Shirts, Coins, stickers, and pins) for all those interested.

Words cannot describe how anxious and excited we are to see you. Please be safe in getting to Camp Lejeune. We all have tremendous accomplishments to celebrate, let’s ensure we take our time driving so it remains a positive and not a tragic reunion. Again, it remains my humble pleasure to command this battalion of brave men. Thank you all for your generosity and support during this demanding combat tour. Take Care and God Bless.


I remain Semper Fidelis,

James J. Minick



Friday, 3-Feb-2006 23:39 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Iraqi Police and Golf Company

 
http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/110B573D70CDF0F18525710A003FC858?opendocument

Iraqi Police, Marines secure polling sites
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20062363640
Story by Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen

KARMAH, Iraq (Feb. 3, 2006) -- Iraq’s national election was a milestone towards making it an independent and free nation. The polling sites in 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment’s area of operations had to be protected from any insurgent activity.

The main effort of the Coalition Forces in Iraq is to make conditions where the people can take care of themselves. To further that goal, the Iraqi Police protected the polling sites and the voters waiting in line there.

“The IPs did an excellent job of protecting the Iraqi people that wanted to vote,” said 2nd Lt. Bryan R. Kelsey, Iraqi Police liaison officer for the battalion.

This group of IPs arrived shortly before election day at the Karmah Police station from the city of Fallujah. They will be a permanent presence in the city to help eliminate intimidation of the community by insurgents and to maintain law and order.

On Election Day, the police officers were in charge of protecting six polling sites in the area where the locals could vote. They were also in charge of getting the election officials to and from the polling sites safely.

The new police force began their job with great success – a high turnout in the battalion’s AO, with tens of thousands of local Iraqi citizens voting for candidates of their choosing. Once the election was finished the IPs had one job yet to finish: they escorted the ballots to Fallujah to be counted.

“We had no problems with this election, just like the last one,” stated Kelsey, a 23-year-old Chicago native. “The IPs knew what they were doing and the elections went smoothly as a result.”

Now that the elections are over, the Marines of Company G are helping the police force further their training by conducting joint patrols and instructing them in basic engagement techniques in case they are attacked by insurgents or with an improvised explosive device.

“The IPs are taking well to the training and the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Najim, is a good leader that knows what he is doing,” Kelsey stated. “They are well on their way to taking their roll in a free Iraq.”



Friday, 3-Feb-2006 23:26 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Operation Trifecta

Photo # 1
Photo # 2
Photo # 3
View all 10 photos...
http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/lookupstoryref/2006227256

Operation Trifecta takes weapons, insurgents off streets
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2006227256
Story by Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen

ZAIDON, Iraq (Jan. 18, 2006) -- During Operation Trifecta the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, with support from surrounding units, performed house-to-house searches and wide spread cache sweeps here, Nov. 14 through the 18.

The Marines detained more than thirty suspected insurgents and located more than 1,000 mortar, artillery rounds and rockets; 20,000 rounds of ammunition for small arms and over a dozen weapon systems, including AK-47’s and Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers, according to Maj. Timothy M. Bairstow, the battalion’s operations officer.

“The Marines in the battalion did a superb job with the operation, reducing the insurgent’s ability and spirit to fight,” said Maj. Christopher Dixon, Battalion Executive Officer. “Targeted personnel and numerous weapons caches were discovered and destroyed.”

The five day operation included Company E, Company F and Weapons Company from the battalion and two squads of Combat Engineers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. The main effort for these Marines was house searches and large cache sweeps through the farm land and fields surrounding three target areas in Zaidon.

The other units involved acted as blocking forces for the raids on day one of the operation. These units included Company D, 2nd Tank Battalion, elements of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, elements of 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, Team Traveler (part of Regimental Combat Team 8’s headquarters company and U.S. Army B Troop, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment.

“The supporting units were instrumental in not letting the insurgents leave the areas we were hitting on the first day of the operation,” Bairstow stated.

One platoon from each of the companies was inserted by helicopter on Nov. 14. The ground-based forces left their respective staging areas and began the search inside the cordon elements.

After half a day of rigorous house-to-house searches and vehicle searches, 15 men were detained and sent to the battalion detention facility. At the completion of day one, the surrounding blocking forces returned to other tasks while the Marines and sailors continued with the operation.

Over the next four days, infantry squads, reinforced with combat engineers, were sent on sweep missions into the fields and houses in the areas surrounding the first day’s objectives. They also searched vehicles for weapons and possible insurgents as they searched the county side.

Trudging through the mud of freshly irrigated fields and along the edges of numerous canals, the Marines pressed forward every day to deny the insurgents the ability to fight against Coalition Forces. The Combat Engineers, with metal detectors in hand, successfully helped unearth several tons of enemy weapons that would have been used in future attacks.

“This operation was one of the most successful for the battalion and Regimental Combat Team 8,” said Dixon. “We accomplished every task we had set up and took large amounts of enemy material out of their hands disposing of it on the spot. With more operations like this the country of Iraq is well on its way to being a free democratic nation.”

Combat engineers attached to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, search a village on the first day of Operation Trifecta looking for weapons caches.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 1

Combat engineers attached to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, search a village on the first day of Operation Trifecta looking for weapons caches.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 2

Marines from to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, found a large cache of weapons and ammunition while searching a burm next to a canal during Operation Trifecta, Nov 17.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 3

Marines from 2nd Tank Battalion block the main roads out of the area during the first day of Operation Trifecta to make sure that no one leaves the area.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 4

A controlled detonation of a weapons cache produces a large cloud of dirt and smoke on Nov. 18 during Operation Trifecta.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 5

Marines from F Company along with engineers patrol through the thick fog in the early morning of Nov. 18 during Operation Trifecta.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 6

Engineers patrol along a canal while conducting cache sweeps of a burm during Operation Trifecta, Nov 17.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 7

Engineers dig down to find the weapons cache found next to a canal while conducting cache sweeps during Operation Trifecta, Nov 17.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 8

Engineers stand a rocket discovered next to a small canal while conducting cache sweeps during Operation Trifecta, Nov 17.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 9

A large number of 82 millimeter mortars were discovered in blue plastic buckets buried in the ground along a canal during Operation Trifecta, Nov 17.
Photo by: Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen Op Trifecta 10



Friday, 3-Feb-2006 23:22 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sgt Johnson and the CEB

 
http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/4ABA163F32D337F98525710A0040B683?opendocument

Rockford, Ill., native searches for weapons caches during Operation Trifecta
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20062364650
Story by Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen

ZAIDON, Iraq (Feb. 3, 2006) -- The sun was rising on the second day of Operation Trifecta and it was time for Sgt. Chad T. Johnson, a combat engineer attached to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and his engineers to impair insurgent operations in the Zaidon area.

The Rockford, Ill., native was given the task of helping a platoon from Company F search vast areas of farm land looking for weapons and explosives the insurgents are suspected to have hidden there.

“This is one of the primary missions for the engineers in this area of operation,” stated Johnson, a 1994 graduate of Auburn High School. “Finding the caches is the pay off for us. We could be walking around for hours and be tired, but if we find a good cache it is all worth it.”

Starting at daybreak, Johnson, whose team includes Lance Cpl. Bryan Fishel, headed out with another sweep team and an infantry squad from Company F. Sweeping through numerous fields and along the sides of canals was the order of the day for Johnson and this group of Marines. There were suspected barrels of TNT in the area they were searching that day.

At around 11:00 a.m. Johnson’s sweep team noticed part of a fiberglass pipe protruding from the ground with a piece of corrugated steel bent over one end. Running the metal detector over the area Johnson’s team received a positive hit and they decided to investigate.

Clearing away enough dirt to peel back the metal on the end of the pipe they placed two chemical lights in the end of the pipe and also used a flashlight. Getting enough light to see inside they saw right away they would have to keep digging.

“The insurgents tried to waterproof the section of pipe by using plastic and metal on one end and sandbags on the other,” Johnson stated. “It didn’t work all that well because the bottom half of the pipe was all mud.”

After assessing what was being stored in the pipe, Johnson’s team had to methodically weed through the mortars and various improvised explosive device components that were in terrible condition. Some of the mortars were missing safety devices and were unstable.

Johnson’s team took around five hours to remove the ordnance from the cache. Approximately 200 meters from the pipe was a storage container that also gave a positive hit with the metal detector. After searching around the edges of the container a second cache was discovered and excavated.

After a long day of digging and sweeping Johnson’s team and the engineers were successful in getting a large quantity ordnance out of the insurgent’s hands.

“All the engineers did an excellent job of scouring the area to uncover these pockets of weapons,” Johnson said. “We hurt the insurgent’s ability to fight the coalition forces in this AO.”

The operation uncovered more than 1,000 mortars, artillery rounds and rockets; 20,000 rounds of ammunition for small arms and over a dozen weapon systems. Johnson and the engineers were the tip of the sword for this operation and reduced the insurgent’s ability to fight against a free Iraq.


Friday, 3-Feb-2006 23:05 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sgt Iverson and Iraqi detainees

 
http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/6A308EE0FE6F8C018525710A003F3755?opendocument

Houston native manages detainees in Iraq
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20062363029
Story by Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen

CAMP FALLUJA, Iraq (Feb. 3, 2006) -- The Marines in 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment bring in suspected insurgents as detainees from their area of operation in order to keep local Iraqi citizens safe. Having one location for all of the detainees to be processed helps expedite the process.

Sergeant William B. Iversen, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the battalion’s detainee facility, is instrumental in making sure these detainees end up where they are supposed to; prison.

“I am here so that the companies only have to drop off a few Marines with a detainee and head right back out into the fight,” the Houston native stated. “All they have to do is drop them off and we handle the rest.”

The 1996 graduate of Nimitz High School was deployed to Iraq in 2003 with the Marines of Company G, clearing Fallujah of insurgents. Instead of exchanging fire with the enemy this deployment, Iversen is processing them as detainees to keep them off the streets and keep the Iraqi citizens safe.

“Each deployment has different missions in different locations. I have been on five deployments during my time in the Corps,” Iversen stated.

Before leaving for his second tour to Iraq Iversen worked in the operations and training section for the battalion. He supervised clerks that prepared training schedules and weapons ranges that the battalion used for training.

Working at the detainee facility is a different experience for Iversen.

“Working in the operations section you knew what you were going to have to do on a daily basis,” Iversen stated. “The detainee facility is a completely different story. I don’t know when things are going to happen and with how many detainees. I have had 23 come through at one time, so it can get busy. It is an on-call type of job.”

The Marines are constantly conducting operations and missions in the AO, having brought 420 likely enemy insurgents to the facility for processing.

Once a detainee arrives at the facility, Iversen places him in front of a small cubical in which they put their personal belongings. This keeps their belongings separate from those of other detainees. It also protects their belongings from being lost. Information sheets are filled out by Iversen or one of the guards containing the detainee’s name, age, distinguishing marks, and a description for recognition purposes.

Photos are also taken of the detainees in front of a height chart with their detainee number. This makes it easier to identify the detainee if they are forwarded up to the Regimental Detention Facility. Photos are also taken of any distinguishing marks or tattoos. Iversen also runs explosive residue and gun powder tests on all detainees, which can be used as evidence of insurgent activities if they are sent to the RDF and then to Abu Grab prison.

“It is a pretty simple process, but it has to be done in the right way so we don’t forget a step and have the detainee get released for something we forgot,” Iversen said.

The detainee facility is open 24 hours a day which can make for long hours of work. Iversen is more than willing to put in the time and hard work to get the enemy insurgents off the streets of Iraq so they cannot do any harm.

“This is one of the hardest things I have had to deal with, knowing that some of the detainees have just killed some of my fellow Marines,” Iversen stated. “But that is something you can’t think about, because we have to get them processed so they can go to jail for a long time. Then they can’t hurt any more of my fellow Marines or local Iraqis.”



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