Lar RAWAH, IRAQ—The Marines of the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., operate in several strategic regions of Rawah, Iraq.  Their area of operations is in the northern sector of Iraq’s Al Anbar Province, the designated area of Multi-National Force – West and the current home of the Second Marine Expeditionary Force (forward).

The Marines of Company D, Weapons Platoon are nearing their six-month anniversary of days invested into improving the city’s security, economy and transition to stability. The progress they have made is evident in the city around them as well as the Marines themselves.

“Our mission here is to make Rawah safer for the people so they can live in peace,” said Cpl. Andrew Roberson, a native of Blue Springs, Miss. and team leader.  “They shouldn’t have to worry about walking down the road and having an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) go off.”

Roberson’s post, known as “Yankee One,” was used as a courthouse during Sadaam’s regime.  It hosts sturdy, cool-blue concrete walls reinforced by thousands of sandbags, many meters of mortar barriers and constant guards both inside and outside its concrete and marble floors.  Any reminisce of past judicial proceedings have evaporated, and the structure  now serves as home to a gaggle of young, ambitious infantrymen who run tight patrol operations through the city multiple times a day to establish a military presence,   providing a sense of security to the local citizens.

Time has changed. The Marines of LAR were assigned to live in areas of the city where, five months ago, were considered among the most unstable in the area. 

“We got here, and it was definitely shunned upon,” said Lance Cpl. Steven McAndrew of Loveland, Oh., an infantryman assigned to a nearby Iraqi Police station.  “They did not like us. We didn’t get much intel from them, and not much cooperation, either.”

Hesitation and dirty looks from the civilian populace of Rahwah are now a thing of the past.

“Now that we’ve been here for almost six months, there’s been a complete turnaround.  We’re getting huge civilian cooperation and they’re all about helping us out,” said McAndrew.

Roberson added he also noticed a sharp increase in citizens willing to join Iraqi Police forces.

“When I first got here, there were, like, four IPs,” he said.  “Now, there are more than 40.”

Roberson additionally noted in his tour, the Iraqis have established public transportation to schools in Anah, conducted city beautification projects, constructed new buildings and established city counsels with the help of their American counterparts.

“I wasn’t expecting a complete turnaround like that,” confessed Cpl. Adam Moudy, a native of Anderson, S.C., also living at the IP station The road to success in the Rawah area hasn’t been paved for the Marines who were strangers living amidst a busy city with hundreds of nearby buildings to hide attackers and thousands of windows that pose the threat of sniper fire.  The young men of LAR became accustomed to long hours, complex attacks and dirty laundry, following the legend of all war fighters before them.As the Marines conducted patrols throughout their sectors of the city, they established and maintained a strong military presence.  According to Cpl. Nick Vaughan, 21, from  Newport News, Va., that was enough to get the ball rolling.“We found out that if you’re out in the city talking to people, they’re less likely to blow you up,” he said.  “If you hide in your building, they’ll most likely attack you.”  “We still find an (Improvised Explosive Device) every now and then, but we have the city on lockdown and we’re definitely setting up the next unit who comes here for success,” said Cpl. Robert Vales, a mortarman from LaGuardia, N.Y.

While the city of Rawah still has much work to be done, there has been a solid foundation of successes implemented by the Marines who spent the last few months living there.  And, as the Marines of 2nd LAR wait to return home, they feel confident about the future of the city they once called home.

CAPTIONS:

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RAWAH, IRAQ—An M-32 semi-automatic, six-grenade launcher sits atop an observation post at “Yankee One,” home to Marines of Company D, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Feb. 27.  The Marines of LAR keep a constant watch on the city around them both to repel attacks and ensure the safety of local citizens.

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RAWAH, IRAQ—Command staff of Multi-National Force – West and 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd), watch over the city of Rawah, Feb. 27.  The unit occupies a building that was used as a courthouse during Saddam’s regime.

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this story I’m the proud father of Marine son McAndrew referenced in the article. I expect to see him at Camp Lejeune in early April.

  2. Thank you for this post. These are ‘my guys’ and I rarely hear a word about this area in the news. Thru Operation Santa we sent a ton of stuff for Xmas and I have continued to stay in touch with some of them, including the Sgt. Major. It’s been a tough deployment but what a bunch of heroes they are and he’s so proud of them, as I’m sure we all are.

  3. Yet again one can only be inspired by what must surely be Gods chosen people: “By their fruits Ye shall know them” How true the “KJV”.
    Their behaviour, both civilian and military, since the inception of their fine great people several hundred years ago, with the words:
    “We the people…” has been one continous example of rising to challenge evil.
    By finally stopping European slavery(1,500,000)in North Africa (Tripoli 1800’s) and the subsequent effect for the rest of Africa. Through to the welcoming of the victims of tyrannies from across the European continent unwittingly, perhaps, other members of the lost tribes.., to the wars in defense of Liberty globally, spending their blood and treasure for virtue.
    God bless all of them and keep them safe on their current tour of duty and return them to their honour-“families and loved ones”.

  4. My son is with the 1st LAR out of Camp Pendleton. It looks like they will be replacing your batallion in just a few days.
    Thanks for all the work you have done to prepare the way.

  5. My son is in 2D LAR it’s good to here the progress in Rawah. To the 1st LAR replacing 2D LAR keep God first and pray without ceasing. God will protect you from danger seen and unseen. Let his will be done. Praise God my son will be home in about 14 days Camp Lejeune bound! Keep the faith! Praying Marine Mom of Lcpl Miller

  6. I heard from my son. He says to thank 2nd LAR, they did a great job and 1st LAR is honored to come behind them. God bless.

  7. To the brave Marines of the 1st LAR, God Bless You ALL for the sacrifice you are making and maintaining the proud tradition that is indicative of the US Marines! My son is currently with the 1st LAR, and I am so proud of him as I am sure all parents of his comrades are. Keep God in your life and return home safely.

  8. Patricia (my wife) prays for the safe return of her son, who is with 1st LAR and arrived in Iraq recently on his first tour. He is my stepson and I couldn’t be more proud of him if he were of my own flesh & blood. As well as his safe return, we both pray for the wellbeing and safe return of those under our son’s command and for all those of 1st LAR. Keep your heads down and your faith up.

  9. Patricia (my wife) prays for the safe return of her son, who is with 1st LAR and arrived in Iraq recently on his first tour. He is my stepson and I couldn’t be more proud of him if he were of my own flesh & blood. As well as his safe return, we both pray for the wellbeing and safe return of those under our son’s command and for all those of 1st LAR. Keep your heads down and your faith up.

  10. “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”
    PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985
    Wonderful progress 2nd LAR!
    My husband is currently in Rawah with 1st LAR… no doubt continuing to make that difference!
    God Bless Our Marines!

  11. It’s good to finally find sonething about Rawah! I’ve been going crazy trying to even find a map to see where it’s located. My son, Lcpl. James Johnson is coming over with the 1st LAR out of Camp Pendleton also. He leaves Tuesday, April 3rd. God bless you all and this Marine mom will be praying fervently.

  12. My son is in the 1st LAR, H & S Co., SEC FOR. His mom and dad love him very much and are very proud of him. LCPL Brandon C Johnson will be 19 on Tuesday in Rawah. If anyone sees this and can get a message to him, We love you baby, Happy Birthday

  13. My son is in the 1st LAR and is Rawah God Bless all the men over there.PFC Combs C.P. Were are very proud of our son Love Mom @ Dad

  14. MY SON IS IN THE 1stLAR CO.PFC VALDEZ,FABIO. YOUR FAMILY LOVES YOU VERY MUCH,AND WE ARE PROUD OF YOU .
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL
    LOVE YOU

  15. My son is with 1st LAR H&S BN. Almost 3 months in Rawah. If you see or hear from LCPL Hines, please wish him a Happy 24th Birthday on May 28th. We are so very proud of you & all your fellow military for serving your country during this time of war. God Bless. We love you.
    Mom, Dad, Colin and Cameron

  16. Well we did all the nasty stuff getting Rawah built up so keep things going for the better.That town is a part of my soul which is forever embeded in me forever.We put our blood, sweat, and many tears into the city of Rawah so do us proud 1st LAR and dont let those rat bastard insurgents gain an inch of ground.Stay undepressed and get home safe.CPL Wilson D co. 2nd LAR

  17. Keep on keepin on Good work your all looked up to, by me. I love you guys. One day you will miss the smell of you lav. Don’t forget anything

  18. I was in 2nd LAI/LAR Delta Co. from 93-97…Thanks for keeping my beloved Delta Company great. Thanks for all that yall are doing ou there. Many are behind you. Semper Fi!! from DooDoo

  19. I was in the 2nd lar bn, H&S company comm. I was wondering if any of the guys that I went with are doing well. I got out in 2000.

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