CAMP RAMADI, Iraq -- A detachment of U.S. Marines from nearby Camp Taqaddum have mobilized to do their part providing direct logistics support for increased security operations ongoing in the city of Ramadi.
As an Army-led operation is underway aimed at establishing a permanent presence of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in the violence-ridden city, Combat Logistics Detachment 15 has been tasked with supporting the Army’s 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, which is heading the operation.
Initial intent for the detachment is to be a ready force to move personnel and supplies throughout the city, as well as help fortify positions as they are taken.
The unit, totaling about 80 Marines, has brought heavy armored transport trucks and forklifts that can transport troops and equipment and emplace concrete barriers used for fortifying critical locations.
“We are here representing the 1st Marine Logistics Group,” said Maj. Maria J. Pallotta, the detachment commander.
The detachment does this through providing as many aspects of combat service support as it can, primarily with its transportation, maintenance and supply capabilities.
The 1st Marine Logistics Group is the Marine’s combat service support unit and is responsible for tasks like convoying supplies, conducting vehicle maintenance, and providing medical support to coalition forces throughout the Al Anbar province.
Expected personnel movement includes possible detainees and ISF troops, said Maj. Mark M. O’Connor, a logistics officer with the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Div.
Having the detachment provide this logistical support allows the ground fighters involved in the operation to focus on the fight, said O’Connor, a 35-year-old native of Rindge, N.H.
Since Ramadi is relatively close to Camp Taqaddum, where their home unit, Combat Logistics Regiment 15 is located, the detachment will be able to quickly re-organize its manpower and equipment if needed, said Pallotta.
In 2004, the Marine-led invasion of Fallujah focused on shutting off the city and clearing insurgents house to house with heavy firepower from artillery and aircraft. Military officials decided to pursue a less direct approach to Ramadi with this operation, Pallotta said.
Instead of pushing through the city, soldiers are securing specific locations, which will become combat outposts for the ISF.
“The Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police will occupy those outposts instead of Americans, and they will be the ones to occupy the city and guard the streets,” Pallotta said.
The ultimate goal of the operation is to have ISF responsible for the safety of the city, said Pallotta.
The detachment has already transported more than 200 Iraqi soldiers to Ramadi, in addition to helping fortify two combat outposts that were taken over by U.S. and Iraqi forces a few days ago.
Planning and preparation for the logistics mission was done over a month ago, said Pallotta, a 35-year-old native of Parma, Ohio.
That prior planning allowed the detachment to leave for Ramadi within 48 hours after being given the order, said Pallotta, who normally serves as the Transportation Support Company commander with Combat Logistics Regiment 15.
Operations are going smoothly, said Pallotta, adding that her Marines will stay as long as necessary.
“We’re ready to stay here a couple of months if we have to,” she said.
1stLt Jason M. Townsend, a platoon commander with CLR-15, is in charge of motor transportation for the detachment. Ramadi, the capital and largest city in Al Anbar, has long been considered one of the most volatile places in Iraq and presents a significant challenge for his Marines.
He said it’s a challenge he is confident they will smoothly overcome: “I have all the confidence in the world these guys will do the right thing outside the wire.”
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