|Friday, 3-Feb-2006 23:45
FINAL Commander's Update!
:ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15: :ar15:
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