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Marines Report From The Field

Operation Southern Fire pushes forward

Story by Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre

Submitted by: II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)

CAMP SMITTY, Iraq (Sept. 1, 2005) -- Coalition forces under 2nd Marine Division and II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD), kicked off Operation Southern Fire in Al Anbar province, Iraq, in preparation for the upcoming elections in the fall.

Backed by Marine Assault Amphibian Vehicles and infantrymen, coalition forces sealed off the town of Amariyah and the settlement known as Ferris Town about 12 miles south of Fallujah in the early morning hours of Aug. 25 and 26. Enemy resistance was light with at least two separate insurgent attacks and no casualties from Coalition Forces.

Their continuing goal is to reestablish a presence of coalition forces within the area to provide an eventual transition to the Iraqi Army and police in the region for the upcoming elections.

“We are setting conditions for the Iraqi police to take over Amariyah and Ferris Town in preparation for the elections in October and December,” said Capt. William E. O’Brien, of Moline, Ill., and commanding officer for Team Gator, Bravo Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion. “It is our objective to introduce and establish a permanent presence of Iraqi police and army.”

Involved in the operation are Marines from 2nd AAV Bn., 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and infantrymen from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Smaller supporting roles came from Sailors working as corpsmen and explosive ordnance disposal specialists, Soldiers from Army intelligence units and Iraqi Army troops working alongside Marines of 3rd Reconnaissance Bn.

Operation Southern Fire is ongoing with Iraqi police arriving on Aug. 29 to Ferris Town and Amariyah.