HUSAYBAH, IRAQ: The morning began with a patrol in the darkness to a home on the far side of Husaybah. 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Marines, 6th Battalion, received a tip that am Improvised Explosive Device was located outside the home. After a scan of the property, the joint Marine & Iraqi Army squad entered the home for a search. Nothing was found but a startled family of three. They cooperated with the search, and we left waving goodbye to the smiling father and child. Mom didn’t appear too happy.
The Jackals of 1st Platoon move out to patrol Husaybah.
The squad returned to Battle Position Beirut to pick up the rest of the company. They were heading to Battle Position Hue City to provide security for a ceremony to turn over control of the western border to the Iraqi Security Forces . On the way to Hue, 1st Platoon encountered a possible IED. Buried in the ground, tail up, was a mortar round. An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was called in to destroy the device. The round was not rigged to explode. “Lots of times the locals find rounds and bury them in clear view so we can find them”, said Corporal Gauls.
Mortar found on the walk to BP Hue City.
In attendance for the ceremony were Iraqi Minister of Defense Saadoun al-Dulaimi; General George Casey, Commander of Multinational Forces – Iraq; Deputy Minister of the Interior Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Khafaggi; and Colonel Stephen Davis, Commander of Regimental Combat Team – 2.
Iraqi Minister of Defense Saadoun al-Dulaimi at Hue City
Minister Dulaimi stated “we don’t have security issues on the borders with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran” but “there is a problem in this region” - on the Syrian border. He claimed the Iraqi security forces would assume full control “in one year”. The border region discussed spanned from “the northern border with Turkey to the southern border with Jordan”, said Gen Casey. “We shouldn’t look for a reduction [of U.S. Forces] here… there are two brigades of Iraqi border guards backed by seven Iraqi Army brigades, which are backed by Coalition forces.” Gen Casey also expressed the need for Coalition forces to remain in Iraq in order to assist the Iraqi Security Forces.
At the end of the ceremony, the Iraqi Army raised the flag over Hue City, and the platoon of Iraqi Army and platoon of Desert Wolves, of the 2nd Brigade of the Al Anbar Regional Border Police, celebrated, surrounded and cheered Minister Dulaimi as he bade goodbye.
Desert Wolves celebrate after ceremony.
After returning from the events at Hue City, 1st Platoon encountered two RPG rounds and one 105 mortar shell. None were wired for detonation. Later in the evening, “Icy’, the platoon’s interpreter, discovered a trigger device for an IED near the market across the street. After an intensive search, no explosives were discovered. The al-Qaeda and insurgency’s guns and bombs were silent in Husaybah as the Iraqi government raised the flag.