View Full Version : Fallujah

11-07-2005, 07:00 PM
Nov. 2005 Marine Corps Gazette article posted on Military.com - Infantry Squad Tactics (http://www.military.com/forums/0,15240,79595,00.html). Excerpt follows:

"Historically speaking, military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT) have created casualty figures that are extraordinary compared to similar operations conducted in different types of environments. The casualties in MOUT present a significant challenge to small unit leaders. Casualties in Fallujah hit Marine infantry squads and fire teams extremely hard because, generally speaking, the squads were already under table of organization standards. Some squads in 3d Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5) commenced the assault on the Jolan with only six Marines. It is the small unit leaders' duty to accomplish the mission with the fewest casualties possible. In order for small unit leaders to complete the above task they need tactics and techniques that will prevent casualties..."

11-16-2005, 09:17 AM
16 Nov. Christian Science Monitor - One Year Later: Fallujah Mending, but Still Volatile (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1116/p01s04-woiq.html).

... One year after marines launched the most ferocious urban assault since the Vietnam War - emptying the city in order to root out entrenched insurgents - the Battle for Fallujah has yet to be won.

Last February, US commanders declared Fallujah the "safest" city in Iraq. Yet, despite a constant US and Iraqi military presence and the strictest security measures of any Iraqi city, insurgents have begun filtering back, and the prevailing calm veneer of a city on the mend can disappear in a flash. US forces here are often confronted with street-level decisions about how best to build the trust of residents while maintaining security - and their own safety...

11-28-2005, 12:40 AM
28 Nov. Christian Science Monitor - Can Fallujah be Rebuilt? (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1128/p06s01-woiq.html).

Dump trucks ply the roads, hauling away debris from wrecked homes. Backhoes churn the earth, laying new service lines. And mountains of bricks and buckets of paint are slowly turning war-ravaged Fallujah into a functional city again.

For US forces in Iraq, few challenges are as daunting - or perhaps as important - as the attempt to transform this bitter Sunni city into a model for counter-insurgency success.

But while Fallujah has become the modern example of the Vietnam-era dictum of having to "destroy a village to save it" - virtually all of its 50,000 structures were damaged in last November's offensive - today it is Iraq's largest construction site.

And it's not just repairing the physical damage. US Marines are taking a far more radical approach by trying to rebuild the economy, attract investment, and create jobs...

03-16-2006, 01:13 PM
16 March San Francisco Chronicle - On Patrol With a New Army in Fallujah (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/16/MNGKTHP2TM1.DTL&hw=iraq&sn=005&sc=807) by John Koopman.

...The United States is pinning its hopes on units like the 2nd Battalion. If the Iraqi army and police forces can take control of the country from the insurgents, American troops can gradually go home.

The U.S. military has put a huge emphasis on training and working with the Iraqi army and police to develop them into effective security forces. But questions remain: What do they need? How long will it take?...

In Fallujah, the 2nd Battalion is advised by MiTT team 4, part of the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

The team has 11 members, commanded by Maj. Mike Motley of New Jersey. It is supplemented by a handful of other Marines farmed out from neighboring units that also are patrolling Fallujah.

As the various Iraqi units get better, they take over "battle space" from Americans. The 2nd Battalion owns a large chunk of northwest Fallujah, aided by Motley's crew.

"These guys are good," Motley said in a chat on the rooftop of the Marine compound. "I've seen them go on raids and develop intel (military intelligence). They just about rival American units. They have no fear."

"They're good in their way," said Capt. Michael Butler, the team's operations officer. "They find Iraqi solutions to Iraqi problems. We could leave tomorrow and they would be fine, but logistically they still need us."

The biggest obstacle facing the 2nd Battalion, and indeed the entire Iraqi army, is logistics...

04-02-2006, 10:04 PM
From Field Artillery: Second Battle of Fallujah - Urban Operations in a New Kind of War (http://sill-www.army.mil/famag/2006/MAR_APR_2006/MAR_APR_06_PAGES_4_9.pdf)

As Commanding General of I MEF, LtGen Sattler commanded the joint and coalition forces at the second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq from 8 to 20 November 2004. Fallujah is about 40 kilometers west of Baghdad on the Euphrates River and has a civilian population of about 250,000—only an estimated 1,500 of whom remained in the city during the battle. The battle was fought by a force of about 15,000, including US Marine, Army, Air Force and Navy units plus British and Iraqi units. The main force swept through the city from north to south down corridors. The forces cordoned the city and searched door-to-door, clearing buildings and engaging the enemy in the streets. This battle was reputedly the most fierce urban fighting for the Marines since the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam in 1968.

07-12-2006, 04:14 PM
EDITED 1/26/07...The link below no longer works for a .pdf file, but the text of the AAR can still be found here: http://www.military.com/forums/0,15240,79595,00.html

Undated Marine Corps Times article - Lessons Learned: Infantry Squad Tactics in Military Operations in Urban Terrain During Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq (http://www.marinetimes.com/content/editorial/pdf/mc.infantry_squad_lessons418.pdf) by Sgt. Catagnus, Jr. Earl. J., Cpl. Edison, Brad. Z., LCpl. Keeling, James. D., and LCpl. Moon, David. A., USMC.

SWJ / SWC Note: Great AAR by some outstanding Devil Dogs. I was hoping to find it posted on the Internet as I had seen it many times before but not in open-source or on a non-subscription site. Just ran across it today...

Historically speaking, military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) have created casualty figures that are extraordinary compared to similar operations conducted in different types of environments. The casualties in MOUT present a significant challenge to small unit leaders. Casualties hit Marine infantry squads and fire teams extremely hard because generally speaking they were already under the table of organization (T/O) standards. Some squads in 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5) commenced the assault on the Jolan with only six Marines. It is the small unit leaders’ duty to accomplish the mission with the least amount of casualties possible. In order for small unit leaders to complete the above task they need tactics and techniques that will prevent casualties.

Section 1 of the Scout/Sniper Platoon has attacked and cleared buildings with all the line companies in 3/5. The authors have observed nearly all the squads in the battalion and have “rolled in the stack” with many of them. This is an experience which few in the battalion have. Knowing this, the authors believe it is their duty to consolidate their observations, produce a comprehensive evaluation of squad tactics and techniques, and pass it onto the squad leaders. The authors’ intent is to give the squad leaders options in combat. It is by no means a “bible,” but it is a guideline. One squad or another has proved all the tactics and techniques in combat. Section 1 does not take any credit for the information contained within. The information was learned through the blood of the infantry squads in 3/5.

The entire evaluation has one underlying theme: Accomplish the mission with the least amount of casualties possible...

07-13-2006, 03:04 AM
For those that may have missed October's issue (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/swjmag_back.htm)of the SWJ Magazine...

Bing West was kind enough to permit us to post a chapter from No True Glory (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553804022/smallwarsjour-20/102-7804012-8094528?creative=327641&camp=14573&adid=077K19ACCTWP96V7904H&link_code=as1).

Here it is: The House From Hell (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/documents/swjmag/v3/west_no_true_glory.htm)...

On the morning of 13 November, Kilo Company set out to clear the dense blocks of houses stretching from Phase Line Henry west to the Euphrates. Captain Jent told 1/Lt Grapes that his platoon would take the lead and Grapes assigned a block to each squad. After the previous day's fight, the platoon was tired but excited, expecting immediate action, but the insurgents had retreated to the south and no contact was made in the first block.

The 3rd Squad began searching the second block by shooting and hammering at an unyielding lock on a courtyard gate. Admitting defeat, Corporal Ryan Weemer sat down to smoke a cigarette.

Screw this one, he thought, 2nd Squad has some C-4. They can clear it later.

Sergeant Christopher Pruitt, the Platoon Guide, ran across the street to pry open a side gate of the next house. Tough and muscular, Pruitt had a challenging nature and never relaxed.

”Hey, this gate's open," he yelled. "Let’s go!”

Weemer threw down his smoke and hustled over with Sergeant James Eldrige and Lance Corporals Cory Carlisle and James Prentice.

The five Marines slipped into the courtyard and Pruitt looked inside the outhouse. Fresh ####.

“They’re inside!" Pruitt whispered.

The cement house, with a dome-shaped roof and a small upper story, looked too small to hold more than a few enemy. So rather wait for a tank, the Marines decided to assault. Weemer, who had gone through the Close Quarters Battle (CQB) special training, posted Prentice as rear security and gestured to Carlisle and Pruitt to stack behind him. He slung his M16 and took out his pistol. Drawing a deep breath, he kicked down the door and charged across the room. He was “running the rabbit", a technique where the point man rushes across the room to distract the enemy while the second man in the stack does the shooting.

As Weemer sprinted across the entryway room, he glimpsed an insurgent with an AK hiding next to the door. As he ran by, Weemer fired three rounds into the man. Carlisle burst in after Weemer, almost bumped into the gunman and jumped back, spilling into Pruitt.

“Go!” Pruitt yelled, shoving him back into the room.

Carlisle stepped forward and fired a long burst into the insurgent, who sagged to the floor. Carlisle then fired another burst into the dead man.

“Stop shooting and get over here,” Weemer yelled.

Carlisle ran across the room and flattened himself against the wall next to Weemer.

"Ready to clear?" Weemer said, gesturing at the open doorway to his left that led to the main room.

With Carlisle on his hip, Weemer charged in and was blinded by the pulsing white flashes of an AK muzzle exploding in his face. Weemer thrust out his right arm and fired eight bullets into the insurgent. The two were standing five feet apart, looking into each other's eyes, firing furiously. Weemer could feel bullets whizzing by his face. Chips of brick and concrete were pelting him on the cheeks, his ears ringing.

Weemer was a qualified expert shot with a pistol. There was no way he had missed with a dozen bullets. He was close enough to slap the man. The man would not go down.

Weemer was running out of bullets. He shuffled towards the door, still firing, and pushed Carlisle back into the first room.

The AK rounds that missed Weemer as he made entry had passed through the door and struck Pruitt and Eldridge. Bones were shattered in the wrist of Pruitt’s firing hand and Eldridge was hit in the shoulder and chest. They staggered out of the house and Pruitt tripped and fell near the front gate. As he struggled to get up, an insurgent on the roof opened fire, the bullets kicking dirt into his face. He dove around the wall and joined Eldridge on the street.

Inside the house, Prentice, who had slid inside the doorway, saw a man wearing a green camouflage jacket and black pants rush out from a back room. Prentice fired a long burst from his SAW, hitting the man in the chest and head, killing him instantly.

Weemer turned back to Carlisle.

"Reload and we'll finish that other ####er."

Keeping his eyes on the doorway, Weemer patted his pistol leg-holster.

Where's my extra mag? he thought. ####.

He dropped his pistol and unhooked the M-16 from his back. He heard someone stumbling towards them and backed up as the insurgent hobbled out from the main room. Weemer shot him in the legs and, when he fell, shot him twice in the face. The man, wearing black body armor over a blue denim shirt, was light-skinned, with a red bandana tied around his curly hair.

Hearing the firing and seeing the wounded, other Marines were rushing to the house. Lance Corporal Samuel Severtsgard burst into the entry room. As he had done in yesterday's fight, Severtsgard was holding a grenade.

He nodded at Severtsgard, who pitched the grenade into the main room. Immediately after the explosion, Weemer and Carlisle rushed in. The air was filled with black smoke and the acrid smell of gunpowder. Weemer broke right and waited a moment for the dust to settle. He saw a stairwell against the left wall and quickly raised his M-16. Above him was a dome-shaped skylight and a circular catwalk with a solid, three-foot high cement guard railing. The stairs led to the catwalk.

As Weemer brought his rifle up, he saw an insurgent leaning over the cement railing, sighting in. The M-16 and the AK began firing at the same time, the sound deafening. Weemer felt his leg buckle. A hard blow rocked back his face...

Get the book here - No True Glory (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553804022/smallwarsjour-20/102-7804012-8094528?creative=327641&camp=14573&adid=077K19ACCTWP96V7904H&link_code=as1).

Read the rest of Chapter 27 here - The House From Hell (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/documents/swjmag/v3/west_no_true_glory.htm)...

10-15-2006, 07:49 AM
Why First Sergeant (now SgtMaj) Kasal did not receive a Medal of Honor for his actions that day is beyond me.

10-16-2006, 02:44 AM
Scheduled for release in May, Amazon is taking pre-orders now.
My Men Are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal Story (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0696232367?ie=UTF8&tag=smallwarsjour-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0696232367)

The news of the pre-release got some action on a 3/1 alumni e-mail list recently.

Tom Odom
10-17-2006, 05:05 PM
Just a recent history lesson:

At 1600, TF 2-2 once again began its assault south. As Newell’s task force started its attack, 1 MAR DIV, adhering strictly to its SOP, ordered a communications security (COMSEC) change. Reynolds was adamant that, “both [he] and my staff (TOC battle crew-CPT Tom Mitchel and CPT Erik Krivda) attempted to work through RCT-7 to get the COMSEC change postponed until after the battle. A key lesson that I learned while being an OC (observer controller) at Fort Polk,” Reynolds stated, “was that one should never change COMSEC hours prior to or during an attack, unfortunately I learned it again, but this time in combat.”22 In the end, Newell and Reynolds made the decision to keep their task force on their old COMSEC until the current attack ended. The TF 2-2 TOC would relay messages to RCT-7.

This history lesson uses the Combat Studies Institute's Occasional Paper #20, Operation al-Fajr: A Study in Army and Marine Corps Joint Operations (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/csi/OP20_AL%20FAJR_Web%20Version.pdf), by Matt M. Matthews, as its center point. OP 20 centers on the role of 2 Army heavy task forces in the final battle for Fallujah, an operation largely regarded as a Marine fight. TFs 2-2 and 2-7 of the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division played critical roles in the operations against fanatical resistance inside Fallujah. In the case of 2-2, the army battalion with its organic armor and firepower transformed from a supporting role to the main of effort of the Marines RCT-7.

I offer this paper for several reasons. As stated above, Fallujah was not just a Marine fight; it was a joint Marine-Army effort and needs to be seen as such. For those of us who have operated in a joint or combined role, the problems, their work arounds, and the successes enjoyed by the Marines and Soldiers in this fight should sound very familiar.


C2 across service boundaries is never easy. Fallujah was no exception. Consider:

We would have liked to move the TOC . . . the problem was just connection with the Marine Corps. That was our big fear, that we would lose connectivity . . .We had a landline phone, not a TA-312, but we normally used it just as regular DSN (defense switched network) line. But the problem was that our version of that phone was a newer version and was not compatible with the Marine Corps’ version of the DSN phone. So, if we picked up the phone to talk to the G4 or the regimental 4, we couldn’t talk. So, we had to get a Marine Corps version of it and be tied in [to a] landline to the other Marine battalions and tied into the Marine regimental headquarters that way.

So, therefore, we were limited in how we could move. One other major difficulty identified in the TF 2-2 TOC was the Marines use of Microsoft Chat. Krivda reported: The other major factor was that they [RCT-7] used a Microsoft Chat to do a lot of their instant messaging, even between battalions, the regiment and division. In some aspects, it was really great, particularly for intel. We could get a lot of information fast; disseminate it, print and save it and a lot of spot reports, we could keep from different sectors, whether it was 1/3 or 1/8 Marines. So, we could inform our guys of what was going on. The problem was that the Marines have some kind of wireless capability that they could put [in] their TAC out north of Fallujah and still talk off the Internet laptop. We just didn’t have that capability. We had set up a satellite system that would tie in that way. It was mounted out of two Humvees, basically. We could mount it on a roof if we were in an abandoned building, and that’s where we basically stayed the whole time. The TAC could move back and forth but, again, with the majority of regimental communications not on FM traffic, it was on this instant messenger stuff; the regimental traffic was very quiet. So that was something that was difficult to keep up with. We did update a lot on FM, but a lot different than the Marines did. So we would take it off Blue Force Tracker and we would update it at the TOC and send it forward to the regiment. Or, every now and then, they would call or the regimental commander would come into sector and talk face to face with Lieutenant Colonel Newell.41

Communications regardless of means is an area of friction in any operation. If you have any doubts of that, ask any S-6. When we are looking at joint or combined operations, those standard problems rapidly multiply. The key as shown in this study is usually person-to-person coordination and communication between tactical leaders. By all indications in OP 20, commander-to-commander and staff-to-staff communications in this fight remained excellent even when the supporting communications means did not mesh.


The fight Fallujah echoes many of the same problems we have seen in such operations. Notably Major Reynolds as indicated in the introduction remembered much of what he learned as an OC at the JRTC. To others it seems as if they were somewhat surprised by the difficulties and the benefits of true heavy-light cooperation on an urban battlefield. Consider:

I have a picture in mind of a tank parked next to a building; the tank commander is unwilling to get off his vehicle to go inside because it’s a pain in the butt and disconnects him from his crew. The infantryman inside the building is unwilling to go outside and stand on the tank to talk to the TC (mainly because he has never seen a tank this close and is scared to death he will shoot the cannon while he is standing there, but also because he would have to expose himself to small arms fire while he was out there). The end result is they stand 10 yards apart and yell at each other over the sounds of the fight and the whine of the tank engine.37

Although some (wrongly in my opinion) say that MOUT is an infantry centric mission, it is truly a combined arms fight. Many a battalion and brigade commander has learned that the hard way. Fallujah reemphasized that fundamental.


In closing this introduction, I ask you to look at OP 20 from the leadership perspective. Marine or Army, officer or NCO, adaptive leadership played a large part in winning the fight for Fallujah. Matthews correctly points out that the Marine leaders went out of their way to make their Army comrades feel they were truly part of the team, especially in the planning effort. Where the leaders truly shone was when the planning ended and the fight began. Both Marine regiments had difficulty in their initial breaching efforts. Both Army TFs played significant roles in overcoming those difficulties. Neither Marine nor Army tactical leaders forgot their brothers-in-arms' contributions. Consider:

Shupp was convinced that TF 2-7 had performed magnificently in Fallujah, and was shocked that a popular book about the battle failed to mention their contributions and achievements. “It’s terrible,” Shupp stated, “because the true heroes of that fight were not mentioned. They’re all my sons, and 2-7 was incredible. No one can ever take that away from them. We could not have had that success if it wasn’t for that Army battalion: their mortars, their maintenance, their fighting capability inside that city.”



10-17-2006, 07:24 PM
In closing this introduction, I ask you to look at OP 20 from the leadership perspective. Marine or Army, officer or NCO, adaptive leadership played a large part in winning the fight for Fallujah. Matthews correctly points out that the Marine leaders went out of their way to make their Army comrades feel they were truly part of the team, especially in the planning effort. Where the leaders truly shone was when the planning ended and the fight began. Both Marine regiments had difficulty in their initial breaching efforts.

Interesting point...I manned TF Wolfpack's COC on the FJ peninsula during the fight, and can add that when there were difficulties, it was Col Shupp's leadership that helped things along. He was on the net throughout the days and nights, resolving friction points, and having (at times) very direct conversations with his subordinate cmdrs. Some may argue that the focus was often on the wrong level (i.e. company actions), but RCT-1 got it done.

IIRC, he greeted the RCT with a motivated "good morning" every day, and wished everyone on the net a happy birthday on 10 November. He was visible and heard, and it clearly made a difference.

10-28-2006, 04:03 AM
Picked up and read this book as a result of this thread. An excellent and well written description of how our counterinsurgency efforts are not wired tight and the type of warfare the troops are fighting and how they go about doing it. The Commander-in-Chief or the Secretary of Defense should be getting briefed by officers at the battalion or composite division level based on this book. I rate the book A++++. Though Iraq is no Vietnam and Fullujah was no Hue City, I can see some similarities in the chain-of-command that are inexcusable when it was ripe to use force to quell the violence in Fullujah. Allowing Fullujah to become a miniature Taliban type holdout only resulted in a tougher fight later. Someone should have been listening and responding to recommendations from the MEF. I was just stunned at the creation and implementation of the so-called Fullujah Brigade.

11-06-2006, 10:15 PM
November's Marine Corps Gazette - Operation AL FAJR (http://mca.webfirst.com/gazette/webarticle2.asp) by CDR John Patch, USN.

While the combat phase of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) reasserted American supremacy in a classic combined arms campaign on open terrain, success against the protracted insurgency in urban areas is more elusive. As a recent analysis argued, “The very success of American joint operations—and joint fires in particular—guarantee that a clever opponent will move into cities for protection.” While cautionary maxims oft-repeated since Sun Tzu’s time point to avoiding cities, the U.S. military must be prepared to defeat the urban adversary when war aims demand it. Military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT) are not new phenomena, but some pundits bemoaned coalition readiness prior to Operation AL FAJR (OAF) (also known as Operation PHANTOM FURY) in Fallujah. Though neither sterile nor quick, OAF proved not to be the feared bloody quagmire that other armies historically faced. In the tradition of Hue City, coalition forces under the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) successfully breached Fallujah’s defenses and seized the city, eliminating a key insurgent stronghold. Several key factors contributed to rapid tactical/operational victory—the virtual absence of civilians; effective MOUT doctrine, tactics, and command and control (C2); and adherence to the laws of war, especially regarding joint fires. Extant joint and Service doctrine discusses MOUT characteristics and caveats in detail; many apply to this article but are not restated here. A pithy description of the urban dilemma is that:

The enemy’s plan is simple and effective: lure American forces into terrain where Information Age knowledge, speed, and precision give way to the more traditional advantages of mass, will, patience, and the willingness to die.

An examination of the OAF experience sheds light on enduring MOUT principles and offers some preconditions for potential success...

11-06-2006, 11:25 PM
I'm not sure all of the connections made in the article have a lot of foundation. Last time I checked, the credit to Al Fajr was going to the grunts and attachments that took down that city house by house, alley by alley, and block by block.

I don't think the average plt cmdr, plt sgt, or squad ldr was worrying about "extant joint and service MOUT doctrine" when they hit the LD.

I also...oh well, never mind. I'm starting to get spun up.

Bill Moore
11-25-2006, 04:14 PM
From the Christian Science Monitor, November 24, 2006

Under fire, US marines hand off battered Fallujah (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1124/p01s04-woiq.html)
By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

From Observation Post Blazer, marines view Fallujah through a thick sheet of bullet-proof glass - already tested with numerous impacts. Or they stare through night-vision goggles or a thermal imaging scope that can pick up the heat of a dog hundreds of yards away.

The marines still patrol key roads. The US military, which still travels boldly through town despite a surge in deadly sniper attacks and roadside bombs, is spending $200 million on 60-plus projects to rebuild the city, heavily damaged in fighting two years ago.

But with just 300 marines, the US military footprint is smaller in this Sunni stronghold of more than 300,000 than it has been in two years. As the marine presence shrinks and Iraqis take more control, Fallujah - once a template for counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq, where US forces have controlled all the variables - is likely again to set a standard for the rest of the country.

"A lot of us feel like we have our hands tied behind our back," says Cpl. Peter Mattice, of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment. "In Fallujah, [insurgents] know our [rules of engagement] - they know when to stop, just before we engage."

During this transition, frustration runs deep in this fortified bunker, and at a handful of posts that now dot Fallujah. They are designed to watch the main roads where marines travel, to prevent the laying of roadside bombs.

Here echo the conclusions of a report written by the chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in August, and first described by The Washington Post, which determined that there is little the military now can do to improve prospects in insurgent-riddled Anbar Province, which includes Fallujah.

"They say we are here to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, but I just don't see that happening," says Corporal Mattice, of Gladwin, Mich. OP Blazer is perched on the northern edge of the city, looking due south down a main street known to the marines as Ethan, site of numerous roadside bombs.

"As soon as we leave, I'm afraid that the insurgents will take over.... They watch us, as we watch them," says Mattice, echoing the fears of Fallujans who, while unhappy with the marine presence, are far more worried that a hurried US departure will leave them vulnerable to Sunni militants, and exposed to sectarian killings.

That fear has been fueled by a spike in insurgent attacks since summer, against both Iraqis and US troops. The 1/24 Marines, a reserve unit headquartered in Detroit and recently arrived, suffered nine dead and more than 40 seriously wounded in their first month in Iraq. Another marine died Sunday from a roadside bomb.

Since August, an assassination and intimidation campaign here has also killed the head of the city council and another prominent member; numerous policemen - including the deputy police chief - and contractors and workers on US-funded projects have also been murdered.

The numbers underscore the dilemma for marines in Fallujah, and for US troops across Iraq, as they begin to pull back and hand more responsibility to Iraqi forces.

The 300 marines here are attacked five to eight times each day. That presence is a significant drop from the 3,000 marines posted here in March 2005, and the 10,000 that took part in the late 2004 invasion.

Another metric: Officers say the number of direct fire incidents against US forces has shot up 650 percent in the past year. Three marines had been hit by snipers in one 48-hour span earlier this week.

"It is no secret," Col. Lawrence Nicholson told the Fallujah City Council during their regular Tuesday meeting. "My mission is to do less, every single day, as Iraqi forces do more."

Fallujah was the test case counter-insurgency invasion in November 2004 - effectively destroying the city to root out insurgents in the biggest urban battle for US marines since Hue City in Vietnam in 1968. Fallujah later became the model for a "go and stay" strategy attempted in cities along the Euphrates in the fall of 2005, which the August intelligence report found to have failed...

Bill Moore
11-25-2006, 04:19 PM
While Fallujah was one of the toughest cities, it has been dominated by coalition forces for several months now, yet as the Marines begin to pull out the Iraqi insurgent becomes dominant again. As the COL in the article stated, the city has an iconic value, but beyond that it will be seen as a test for the new Bush Strategy (another iconic value) of turning over the fight to the Iraqis. If we lose Fallujah "again" the IO impact will be significant (this is the understatement of the year).

Assuming that this article is mostly accurate, it indicates that we shouldn't pull of Fallujah yet, so I hope we have enough sense to reverse course and hold the line there, especially there.


11-26-2006, 03:59 AM
By the way (as a matter of curiosity), how many items in this article would you go crazy over if you were the Battalion S2?

I count 5 seperate items. And I'm not even an intel guy.

11-29-2006, 11:00 PM
29 November Multi-National Force Iraq commentary - Fallujah Revisited (http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7629&Itemid=18) by Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV. Posted in full per DoD guidelines.

If you follow the news coming out of Iraq, you have seen too many headlines about the bloodshed in Baghdad in recent days. As American servicemen and women prepare to spend a fourth holiday season trying to help build a new Iraq, these headlines have led some people to conclude that our mission may be hopeless.

However, my recent visit to Fallujah has reaffirmed my strong conviction that as bad as the situation may sometimes appear, there is still reason to be optimistic for Iraq’s future.

Although it has been out of the headlines for some time, take a minute to recall why the name Fallujah resonates so strongly in our collective memory. Perhaps the most disturbing images of Operation Iraqi Freedom emanated from Fallujah on March 31, 2004, as the bodies of four murdered American contractors were desecrated and the charred corpses hung off the Euphrates River Bridge for the world to see. The “Fallujah Brigade,” a unit comprised of former Iraqi army officers, failed to prevent warlords allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq from effectively taking over the city. Foreign fighters and terrorist insurgents imposed a Taliban-like regime over the city, torturing and beheading innocent people who just wanted to enjoy the freedoms that resulted from the fall of Saddam Hussein. (One torture chamber later uncovered included cages in the basement and a wall covered with bloody handprints). With more than 100,000 explosive rounds stockpiled in weapons caches throughout the city, these invaders of Fallujah exported scores of suicide bombers bent on mass murder. The population of Fallujah fled in droves, reducing the number of residents to only 50-60,000. By October 2004, Fallujah was a city without security, without stability, and seemingly without hope.

In order to rescue the people of Fallujah and eliminate it as a base of operations for Al Qaida, Coalition forces launched Operation Al Fajr, or “The Dawn.” Led by American Marines, Coalition Forces battled 2-3,000 terrorists in fierce and sustained urban combat. Although Fallujah was liberated, half the city was decimated by the intense combat.

What has happened to Fallujah since that ferocious battle?

Last week, I saw a city of 350,000 people who have made incredible progress over the past two years. In the aftermath of Operation Al Fajr, in March of 2005, there were 3,000 United States Marines and only 300 Iraqi Security Forces in Fallujah. Today, the people of the city are protected by 1,500 members of their own Iraqi Security Force and only 300 Marines. The police are comprised of native Fallujans, and enjoy strong support from the local population. They are able to patrol their own neighborhoods, enforce their own laws, and handle the transition to responsibility for their own security and growth. Despite the sectarian violence which plagues other parts of the country, I saw the commander of the local Iraqi Army unit, a Shi’a, sit and work productively with the local police chief, a Sunni – a relationship few would have believed possible in Fallujah just a year ago.

I attended a city council meeting, where a democratically elected mayor and city council led the deliberations about the peoples’ business. To be honest, the Council’s discussion of traffic control was not exciting. But the mundane business of a functioning democracy can be uneventful when its institutions are working properly. At the same time, it was exciting to witness democracy in action on soil that once seemed entirely inhospitable. Membership of the Fallujah Business Association has grown from only 20 members last February to over 350 today, demonstrating optimism for economic growth. I even saw a processing center where Fallujah welcomes persons displaced by instability elsewhere.

Fallujah’s transition has not been easy. Terrorists and insurgents are waging a brutal campaign of murder and intimidation against the city’s government and police force. Unemployment remains high, and there is still much rebuilding to be done. But Colonel Larry Nicholson and the young Marines of Regimental Combat Team-5 firmly believe they have turned Fallujah into a model of what Iraq can become. Iraqis themselves support this hope, as families have been arriving in Fallujah en masse to seek shelter from instability in other parts of Iraq.

In October 2004, the world saw the incredible courage of the Coalition Force, as Marines did their part to create hope for Iraqis. Today, visitors to Fallujah can see the courage of Iraqis for themselves.

Difficult times remain ahead for the U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq. Many sacrifices remain to be made by both U.S.servicemen and women and their Iraqi partners in Fallujah. But the city is an example of what can be achieved when courageous leaders, brave security forces, and hard-working citizens unite for a common goal – a secure and unified future. The progress in Fallujah demonstrates that with time and effort, recovery is possible in Iraq in the wake of brutal violence.

04-16-2007, 01:19 PM
Nat Helm's book on SgtMaj Kasal, which includes our experience in Iraq will
be on the shelves next month! Open the link below for more details.
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2007/04/marine_kasal_story_070415/ (http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2007/04/marine_kasal_story_070415/)

You can pre-order at My Men Are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal Story (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0696232367?ie=UTF8&tag=smallwarsjour-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0696232367)

06-02-2007, 02:38 AM
"The Iraqi national defense force or police have total control of the Anbar province," Inhofe said, noting he visited with U.S. top commander Gen. David Petraeus and toured Fallujah, which Inhofe said is a totally secure area now. Fallujah once was a hotbed for anti-American insurgents.


I found this on one of my trolls of news regarding Fallujah.

I am stupefied by the description of Fallujah as "a totally secure area now." I would like to know exactly where the good Senator went in that city, because his assessment does not match the information I have on the conditions there. I wonder whether he even left the FOB?

I find it particularly ironic that he made this comment this week, given the events -- a murder of an anti-AQ local, a bombing of the funeral procession for the same, a bombing at a police recruiting event, and a botched mortar attack on the government center (landed in an adjacent neighborhood, with multiple casualties).


06-02-2007, 09:02 AM
Security is in the eye of the beholder, apparently.

Abu Buckwheat
06-02-2007, 01:13 PM
"The Iraqi national defense force or police have total control of the Anbar province," Inhofe said, noting he visited with U.S. top commander Gen. David Petraeus and toured Fallujah, which Inhofe said is a totally secure area now. Fallujah once was a hotbed for anti-American insurgents.

Fallujah? Secure? Ohhhhh....Kaaaayyy. Time to take your medicine Senator. Just follow these nice men. :rolleyes:

Tom Odom
06-02-2007, 04:46 PM
I am stupefied by the description of Fallujah as "a totally secure area now."

Don't be...consider the source. Inohofe is a fountain of such wisdom.

Remember, Stupid is what Stupid says (Forgive me, Mama Gump)


06-03-2007, 01:06 AM
I understand that a more than significant portion of the reasonable population will take this message with the proverbial grain of salt it deserves. The problem is that some of the less reputable will quote it out of context, will refer to people who've "been there" and "seen the good news," and generally take advantage of the fact that this lunacy has been published, publicized, and spread across the internet, to make arguments about progress, and the lying main stream press that won't talk about the positive developments in Iraq.

Clearly the man can't be impeached, but can he be bounced for being incredibly stupid?

06-03-2007, 06:39 AM
I thought that was a prerequisite....:rolleyes:

06-03-2007, 06:51 AM
"totally secure"? Well, without much context that's very funny.
Even cities at home aren't "totally secure".