The Iraqi army had a bit of a triumph in Ramadi. Its very obvious that the Marines have been pivotal in transforming the Iraqi Army. Below here we have pro-government forces as they celebrate retaking their region.Marines have been deploying to Iraq for over 16 months. They’ve done so quietly though, helping in the fight against ISIS militants. Been over a decade thus far… Towards the end of 2015, Iraqi army hoisted its flag in the city of Ramadi. This was done in order to declare victory.
The mission for the Marines have been some what quiet. ISIS has vowed to seek revenge on anyone responsible for bombing strongholds in places like Iraq and also Syria.
During a 7 month deployment, Marines flew more than 8300 combined flight hours. Also delivered almost 2.8 million tons of cargo throughout the region and launched airstrikes against ISIS, on a daily basis.
Marines trained Iraqi soldiers directly as well as advising and assisting leadership to ensure accurate intelligence. Watch was also provided over the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. They also worked with Americas regional allies to prepare them for the fight.
President Obama announced that in June the Marines will reopen the abandoned Al Taqaddum Air Base in Anbar province. This would be so Marines can support the Iraqis in the battle with ISIS. Within hours hundreds of Marines landed and immediately set up a defense perimeter. This would be the fulcrum for the Iraqis fight.
McDonough and his team helped the Iraqis plan their operations. They shared critical intelligence about the enemy and used that information to coordinate airstrikes. “It was about understanding the battle space, locating bad guys and then bringing in coalition aircraft on them,” he said. McDonough said he found working with the Iraqis motivating.
There are plenty of Iraqi generals that have been in the fight for 20 plus years. Some have battled against Iran in the 1980’s. Many had been displaced three or four times, some were fired 5 or 6 times. They also fought with limited resources in places they grew up. McDonough said he would watch 19 year old soldiers eagerly head into the fight with limited weapons training. No flak jackets, helmets and limited rounds.”To see and be surrounded by people like that is pretty inspiring. We fight and even break bread with these guys.