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Tuesday, 6-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2/2 Fox - Stars & Stripes!

Cpl Shampaner
Fox on the move!
Fox got some press! Woo-Hoo! Now if we can find some H&S stuff we'll be good to go!


Marines scour area around Fallujah for arms
U.S., Iraqi militaries preparing for Dec. 15 elections

By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, December 4, 2005

AL KARMAH, Iraq — About 250 Marines rolled out of Camp Fallujah shortly after dawn Friday and moved into a small, poverty-stricken neighborhood for a house-by-house search of an area believed to be an insurgent stronghold.

Supported by fixed-wing aircraft and accompanied by about 25 Iraqi soldiers, the Marines swept through the swath of ramshackle homes about five miles east of Fallujah on the edge of restive Anbar Province.

Two men were detained and no major weapons caches were uncovered in the mostly Sunni village during an operation designed to limit insurgents’ ability to mount attacks in the run-up to the Dec. 15 national elections.

“I’m not surprised we didn’t find anything,” said Capt. Mike Estes, commander of Company F of the 2nd Marine Battalion of the 2nd Marine Regiment.

“We’ve searched through that area several times and we just wanted to go back there to remind them that they still cannot stage weapons in that area.

“And we want to keep insurgents on their heels before the elections.”

The operation is among many expected to unfold across the country in the coming weeks, as U.S. troops and Iraqis prepare for the first nationwide elections to pick a constitutional government.

A security lockdown imposed last year in and around Fallujah has pushed insurgent activity into the surrounding areas, where several small Sunni towns, like this one, have seen a surge in violence.

On Friday, insurgents fired on the Al Karmah police station and a small firefight ensued. No injures were reported.

The day before, one Marine on a foot patrol was severely injured by a roadside bomb. Another roadside bomb exploded Thursday and caused minor injuries. Also on Thursday, insurgents fired on a patrol of Humvees just outside Al Karmah, Marines said.

As the Marines moved through the residential area, a psychological operations truck with large speakers and an Arabic language recording told residents of the search and urged their cooperation.

While Marines provided nearly all the logistical support for the sweep, about two dozen Iraqi soldiers joined them in the actual house-to-house search.

“We’re trying to put an Iraqi face in the operation,” said Cpl. Andrew Harrison, who led a team of Marines through the house searches. “We’re just kind of supervising them.”

In one home, Marines became suspicious of a man whose identification card said he was 19, but who looked much older.

“There is no way this guy was born in 1986,” 1st Lt. Brandon McDaniel said as he spoke to the man and inspected the ID card.

After a further search, Iraqi soldiers found two rifles and six magazines of ammunition. Current law prohibits families from having more than one rifle and two magazines of ammunition per home.

They also found several Iranian-language videotapes and several audiotapes of Islamic religious leaders.

The Marines arranged the weapons, ammunition and tapes and told the man to sit down while they photographed him with the suspicious items. Standard procedure calls for Marines to photograph detainees with whatever suspicious items they have in their possession.

“Here, like this, this looks more guilty,” Cpl. Keith Shampaner said as he told the man to put one of the rifles in his hand.

But Harrison told Shampaner to get out of the way so he could take a photograph. “You don’t have to pose him,” Harrison said.

A woman at the home who identified herself as the man’s sister said the man knew nothing about the guns. She said she was hiding the guns for her other brother, who is in prison.

Also during Friday’s daylong operation, a second man was detained after Marines recognized him as a person seen behaving suspiciously during a previous incident in the area. The man was seen watching a group of Marines and making phone calls from a place where the Marines were later attacked.

The neighborhood searched by Marines was lined with dusty, unpaved roads, and most homes had only cinder-block walls and sparsely furnished rooms.

A nearby Marine camp has taken fire from the neighborhood at least six times in recent months. It lies just off a major route leading north from Fallujah that many Marines refer to as “IED Alley” because of the frequency of roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices.

At one home, a woman said her husband died after the Marines shot him several months ago.

At another, a woman holding a small child on her hip said she did not mind the search.

“They have searched my home before,” the woman, the wife of a car mechanic, said through a Marine translator. “At first it was scary, but now it is OK. The Marines and the Iraqi soldiers are here to help us.”

Andrew Tilghman / S&S
# 1 -Cpl. Keith Shampaner tells an Iraqi detainee how to pose for a photograph with the gun Marines found in his home. Standard procedure calls for Marines to photograph detainees with whatever suspicious items they have in their possession.

# 2 -Marines ride back to Camp Fallujah in a truck after spending the day on a house-by-house search in a neighborhood north of the base.

Monday, 5-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Some singles from various places!

LCpl CJ Cooper 2/2 Weapons 2nd
IA and Operation Shanty Town
SSgt. Keith Bibbs Baghdad 11-28-05
View all 4 photos...
Brand new Dad LCpl Hutchinson got one on the MNF site of one of our local ATL area Marines, LCpl Cooper from Fayetteville, GA. Good stuff! The hi res was a btmp so I couldn't upload it though but the pic is pretty clear in small jpeg. ( http://www.mnf-iraq.com/Photos/Dec/Hi-Res/04.jpg )


KHARMA, Iraq - Lance Cpl. C.J. Cooper, from Fayetteville, Ga., with 2d Squad, Weapons Platoon, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, hands a flyer to an Iraqi child explaining the intention of the coalition forces in the area during Operation Shanty Town.(Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Hutchison, 2d Marine Division Combat Camera) (Released)

KHARMA, Iraq - An Iraqi soldier with 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Division, takes cover outside a doorway while his fellow soldiers search a home for weapons during Operation Shanty Town. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Hutchison, 2d Marine Division Combat Camera) (Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Keith Bibbs and his team from 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion Public Order Brigade, 2nd Marine Division, provide security during a raid in the Zafraniyah District in Baghdad, Iraq, Nov. 28, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Teddy Wade

KHARMA, Iraq - A Marine with Weapons Platoon, Company F, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, hands a flyer to locals that explains the intentions of the coalition forces in the area during Operation Shanty Town. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Hutchison, 2d Marine Division Combat Camera) (Released)

Sunday, 4-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Golf Company and Karmah!

I do not usually post various articles unless they are from the Corps site but this one is obviously of high interest to not only 2/2 but Golf folks as well. This is the complete Stars & Stripes article. - JHD


Marines trying to establish viable police force in Karmah
Police officers were killed by insurgents in previous effort

By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, December 5, 2005

KARMAH, Iraq — Even the police are scared in this mostly Sunni city just a few miles east of Fallujah.

“I don’t want the police to go into the market to buy food, it might be dangerous,” said the soon-to-be police chief here, Col. Njaem Abddal Anfos, said during a recent meeting with U.S. Marines.

“You’re police!” an apparently stunned Lt. Col. Jim Minick told the Iraqi officer. “If you can’t go buy food, then who can?”

The exchange came at a meeting last week as U.S. troops try to install a new police department in this city of roughly 50,000 before next week’s national elections.

Like several other cities just outside Fallujah, this dusty and densely populated city has become a staging ground for insurgents operating just outside the ring of security checkpoints that restrict access to the volatile urban center.

Before the new batch of police move in, the Marines are trying to lay out their expectations for the new security force, which will be an extension of the existing Fallujah District Police Department.

“There is one thing you need to understand,” Lt. Col. Bill Mullen, the operations officer for the Fallujah-based Regimental Combat Team 8 -RCT 8, told the designated Karmah police chief and several other Fallujah police leaders.

“The police will not be sitting inside the police station afraid to go outside. It’s very important the police push out into the neighborhood,” Mullen said.

“From the day you set foot out there, you are going to be in charge of that town. If you get attacked, you need to show them that that kind of behavior is not acceptable.”

For several months, the Marines have patrolled the city of Karmah every day with few problems.

The marketplace bustles with commerce. On one recent afternoon, hundreds of residents milled about as a falafel stand sold snack foods, fish salesmen cleaned fresh cod at a sidewalk stall, and old men stared out shop windows, sipping dark, syrupy tea from tiny oriental glasses.

Nevertheless, a previous effort to set up a police force this fall ended in failure, and the police bracing to move in here may have good reason for fear.

Shortly after the constitutional elections in October, the Iraqi police first tried to set up a permanent security force after U.S. forces paid $315,000 to renovate a police station.

But within days, a throng of masked insurgents accosted four officers patrolling through the bustling market place. In a public show of force, the insurgents demanded the police surrender their American-bought flak vests and Kevlar helmets, then shot the men, leaving their bodies lying in the midday sun.

About two weeks later, insurgents mounted a full-scale assault on the police station with a barrage of bullets and rocket-propelled grenades, sending the dozens of police fleeing and ending any semblance of police presence in the city.

Since early November, Marines have occupied the station to prevent insurgents from taking over or destroying the structure.

Now, Marines from the Camp Lejeune-based 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment here are waiting for a new crop of police to show up and try again in preparation for next week’s nationwide elections to select local and national officials.

The initial effort to set up a police department was “a token effort” with just a few dozen officers, said Maj. Kevin Clark, the Iraqi security forces coordinator for RCT 8.

Problems were compounded by the fact the police were not getting paid due to financial problems at the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, Clark said.

And many of the police were hired from Fallujah and other cities rather than from Karmah itself.

“To a certain extent, we had to adjust our plan and start recurring some people from the area,” Clark said.

The Marines want to support the new police force, but that effort is complicated by local politics that prohibits them from openly training and working with the police.

“If they see us out with the coalition forces, they will follow our families and children and they will kill our families and children,” Col. Njaem Abddal Anfos told the Marines.

“I am honored to work with you. But I am just telling you the nature of our society. Please don’t take offense to it.”

Minick nodded and said, “No offense taken.”

Local police are a critical piece of the plan for long-term stability in Iraq, said Capt. Joel Schmidt, the company commander who oversees the city of Karmah.

“It’s huge,” he said. “In the long run, who takes care of civil affairs? The police. If you are trying to have a democracy, the army focuses on the external problems and the police handle internal ones.”

“We say this is a counterinsurgency, but in many ways this is really just about countering crime,” Schmidt said.

Photo - Andrew Tilghman / S&S
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jim Minick meets with Fallujah police officials to discuss setting up a new police department in the suburban city of Karmah.

Saturday, 3-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Commander's Update!

1 December 2005

Warlord Family and Friends,

Success continues throughout our area of operations, particularly in preparation for the upcoming government elections on 15 December 2005. Our Marines continue to do great work and are achieving the priorities I established when we first arrived to Iraq. Daily they conduct counterinsurgency operations, train and work with the Iraqi Army, and conduct Civil Affairs Operations. All of these move towards the goal of preparing Iraq to determine the future of their country and our eventual departure. I am confident that we are on the right path and I continually see results and evidence of our success in all areas.

Locating enemy weapons caches has been a major part of our success lately. Platoons have located thousands of enemy munitions and weapons of varying types. Most importantly, we have stripped from the battlefield the required ingredients to build Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s). This is critical and removes a source of supply from the enemy hands. In doing so, we continue to disrupt their ability to attack coalition forces and effect the upcoming elections.

Another considerable change for us has been the weather. As innocuous as this sounds, after the 120+ degree Fahrenheit days of summer, the current daytime temperatures of 60’s and 70’s and nighttime temperatures in the 40’s is welcome. Of course, as was expected, the Marines already have started complaining about the cold and the wish for the warmer weather. In that regard, I suspect I will never keep them happy. Nearly every day we have clouds, but so far no rain. December is supposed to be the wettest month in Iraq but in looking at the historical statistics, “wet” is a relative term in comparison to Camp Lejeune and other areas in the United States.

Thanksgiving brought us a great good spread of traditional food at the chow hall, for those that were able to eat there. Despite the holiday, operations continued unabated so we trucked out food to every company firm base for those available to enjoy. The chow hall provided a decent feast with turkey, stuffing, all associated side dishes and tables of different types of deserts. Though not at home, we were able to enjoy time with fellow Marines during the holiday.

Care packages have been flowing in regularly and I suspect that will increase during the Christmas holiday. For all that send them, we thank you very much. These actions mean a lot to each Marine and provide him a moment of relaxation and time to reflect on home and those he loves. We may not be with you during Christmas but will think of you and be with you in spirit.

The reality of the ever-present danger in this fight was felt again this month. We suffered two casualties. LCpl Shiavoni on November 15th and LCpl Troyer on November 19th were taken from us on the field of battle. They were great men and Marines. The Task Force misses them deeply and we all pray for their families as we all struggle with this tragic loss. The Men will fight on in respect of their memory, for that is exactly what they would wish and deserve.

To help counter our heartache, I’m pleased to announce more additions to the Warlord family. The dedication of our Task Force and their families is unsurpassed. The following households are enduring a deployment without the luxury of being together during this momentous time. I’m unable to describe my appreciation for your continued sacrifice.

The following Warlords had recent additions:
Capt Corry and Whitney Murphy Nathan H&S
LCpl Jason and Amanda Flagale Rio Wpns
LCpl Salome and Danielle Garcia Reehna

During the upcoming holiday, we wish we could be with you and will turn our thoughts to you regularly. Nonetheless, we will continue to push hard to ensure the elections are safe and eventless for the Iraqi people as they exercise their right to vote and take ownership in their future. This is my 10th of 13 newsletters. I hope they help to keep you updated on the successes of our Task Force. They amaze and impress me daily. Thank you for your continued loyal support.

I remain Semper Fidelis,

James J. Minick

Friday, 2-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2/2 Easy and Fox 11-14-05 Zaidon

Photo # 1
Photo # 2
Photo # 3
View all 7 photos...
If you look closely you will see a couple of FOX Co. pics! Heh! I was beginning to believe there was no other company but Easy in the entire battalion! he-he! And both Fox pics were taken by new dad LCpl Hutchinson! - JHD

# 1 - An AH-64 Apache helicopter patrols the skies, providing aerial coverage for U.S. Marines assigned to 2nd Platoon, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, while they search buildings, looking for insurgents, firearms and anti-coalition material during Operation Trifecta in Zaidon, Iraq, Nov. 14, 2005. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Paul S. Mancuso

# 2 - Iraqi children smile and wave to U.S. Marines assigned to 1st Platoon, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines during Operation Trifecta in Zaidon, Iraq, Nov. 14, 2005. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Paul S. Mancuso

# 3 - U.S. Marines assigned to 2nd Platoon, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, search buildings looking for insurgents, firearms and anti-coalition material during Operation Trifecta in Zaidon, Iraq, Nov. 14, 2005. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Paul S. Mancuso

# 4 - To inform locals about U.S. Marine Corps activity in the area, U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. John Hipenbecker, assigned to tactical psychological operations team, prepares to play a message during Operation Trifecta in Zaidon, Iraq, Nov. 15, 2005. The Marines and soldiers with the 1st Division of the Iraqi army are conducting operations in Zaidon to clear out insurgent forces and to prevent them from using Zaidon as a staging area in the future. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Paul S. Mancuso

# 5 - A U.S. Marine assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, looks around the corner for suspicious activity while on a security halt during Operation Trifecta in Zaidon, Iraq, Nov. 17, 2005. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Hutchison

# 6 - U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Lowell Williams, assigned to 1st Platoon, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, points to the next building he wants his Marines to search, looking for insurgents, firearms and anti-coalition material during Operation Trifecta in Zaidon, Iraq, Nov. 14, 2005. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Paul S. Mancuso

# 7 -U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Emishell Martinez, assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, scans the outlying area with his scope for suspicious activity during Operation Trifecta search operations in Zaidon, Iraq, Nov. 14, 2005. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Hutchison

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