This letter is late due to operations in support of the National Election. I’m sorry for the delay. I know it seems like time stands still with your Marine or Sailor being gone but it is already mid-December! I remember arriving in Iraq and thinking how far off the constitutional referendum and governmental elections seemed. Now the new Iraqi constitution is complete and a new government is elected from the voting yesterday. Though the results are still pending, voter turnout was very high demonstrating that we have reached initial stages of success in Iraq by allowing the people to exercise democratic rights and decide their own future.
Our mission will continue with the training of the Iraqi Security Forces of the Police and Iraqi Army. They are currently assuming responsibility for more battle space and security. The Iraqi Security Forces will continue to assume greater responsibility and control and will be the ones who ultimately achieve long-term stability for their new government to lead the country into the future. The Iraqi Police continue to improve and they will support the Iraqi Army. Their combined actions will secure the future, ultimately assuming complete responsibility.
We have had a number of media representing agencies from across the world and continue to publish stories. These have been and will continue to be posted onto this website for you to track what the Warlords have been doing.
Even with Christmas Day this week, operations will continue unabated. Despite this requirement, Marines will take time at some point to celebrate and remember family at home. I ask that during this holiday season, you take time to think of each Marine and Sailor and keep them in your prayers. Your support and thoughts arrive daily in the forms of cards, letters and packages. Regularly large amounts of packages arrive on trucks and deposits of their contents are spread throughout the battalion area. Of special note, I would like to thank the efforts of Jayme Alexander who organized our “Secret Santa” project. “Secret Santa” has ensured every Marine and Sailor of the Task Force received a care package during the holiday. I’ve been impressed with the amount of care and love that went into each box. Many Marines and Sailors were mailed packages from complete strangers. Their generosity is matched only by the appreciation of the Warlords they support. Thank You Jayme and all of those who participated.
We have been blessed with more great news on the arrival of new Warlords to our families. My heart and appreciation goes out to these selfless parents who continue to balance the love of their country with the love of their own families.
The following Warlords had recent additions:
HN Roberto and Raquel Pena-Rodriguez Anthony H&S
HM2 Patrick and Natalie McElhinney Cain H&S
Cpl Christopher and Suzanne Johnson Katherine H&S
In closing, I can’t help but mention the magnitude of the professional and dedicated efforts of your Marines and Sailors. I realize it’s often very difficult in a Counter Insurgency (COIN) environment for them to see and measure the strides in progress and mission accomplishment. However, when you evaluate their performance off the priorities of the Task Force, I suggest it becomes vividly clear.
• #1. Train and Develop Iraqi Army (IA) and Iraqi Police (IP)
Our IA’s were the first battalion to assume battlespace in all of Al Anbar Province. They have executed their duties superbly and the level of violence is down and metrics of security vastly improved. We are preparing for increased assumption of battlespace before we finish our tour. The IP’s are firmly entrenched in Karmah and continue to show improvement each day and week.
• #2. Safe and secure October Referendum and December National Election
Both elections went without incident. Perhaps more importantly, the level of voter turnout was greater than in any other area of the Al Anbar Province. This is a reflection of the local populace’s confidence in their security and thirst for some form of Democracy. In my view, Mission complete!
• #3. Capture and Kill the enemy
As stated above, the levels of violence have been significantly reduced. Due to our hot pursuit and tenacious offensive operations, numerous high-value targets have been detained or have fled the country. Task Force 2/2 has over fifty percent of the Regimental Combat Teams detentions and we represent only one of three infantry battalions in that organization.
Simply said, your Warlords are doing magnificent work. They continue to take the fight to the enemy and remain grounded on our Marine Corps core values. We will stay on the offensive and keep the momentum and tempo of operations in our favor. I again thank you for your continued support. Please have a safe and happy holiday and never forget how much we miss you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.