Sunday, March 16, 2008

Eliminating Extremists, Building Capacity

This week, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division kicks off Operation Marne Rugged, a kinetic operation to stabilize the area south of the Tigris River where 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div. is currently conducting operations.

In coordination with 3rd HBCT and the 8th Iraqi Army, Vanguard Soldiers will build Patrol Base Summers, named for Staff Sgt. Vincent Summers from 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, who paid the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

Operation Marne Rugged is the third in a series of operations to squeeze Sunni extremists along the Tigris River Valley. Between Operation Marne Thunderbolt, Operation Marne Grand Slam and Operation Marne Rugged, you are giving the enemy nowhere to hide.

Our next Division operation begins next month in the Mahmudiyah qada. Operation Marne Piledriver will be the first Division operation completely focused on capacity building.

Soldiers from 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) will partner with the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army for Operation Marne Piledriver. The Rakkasans will resource the Iraqi Soldiers to conduct their own air assault to kill or capture their own targets. Rather than use the operation to build a patrol base for Coalition force Soldiers, we are going to build a patrol base for the Iraqi Army, and resource them to increase their number of battle positions and checkpoints. Operation Marne Piledriver will give the Iraqis the space and time to provide their own security for their fellow Iraqis.

Information operations will be the key behind Marne Piledriver – we will show the Iraqi people that this operation puts the Iraqi Army in the lead, and the results are for the Iraqi people. We are going to ensure new cell phone towers help the qada to communicate, and we will work with the Iraqi people to build a radio station in Yusifiyah and in Mahmudiyah.

Rather than use bullets as a munition, Operation Marne Piledriver will use money as a munition to focus on meeting the needs of the Iraqi people in Mahmudiyah. Commander’s Emergency Response Program projects will help to develop local agriculture to increase economic stability. We will also provide a greater focus on our local councils to ensure that the government is linked from the qada to the nahias to the Iraqi people.

Meeting the needs of the Iraqi people is no longer about providing security, but about providing stability – providing the essential services and the peace of mind for the Iraqis to live without fear. By building schools, filling the canals with water, and talking to the Iraqi people, you magnificent Soldiers are helping to return their standard way of life. First you rid their areas of the insurgency, and now you are providing them with the tools to resume to normalcy.


No comments: