Ok, I was taking a day off from SWJ but RTK made me come and defend my unit's honor .....

As said I was there. That also means I was very close to it personally, and it colors my views. That said, I'll try and give as objective as a summary as possible. Forgive the dick and jane writing style, I have to type quickly because I promised to play cars with my 3 year old.....

This version is entirely my own personal view and from memory without my notes, so forgive me if any inaccuracies in dates or units are involved. My position gave me a first hand view of the complete fight at Brigade level from August 2006-February 2007.

Setting, June 2006. 1/1 AD takes Ramadi over from 2/28 ID. Ramadi is largely under insurgent control, and a Marine BN is hunkered in the government center and a few other sites in central Ramadi. Insurgents have complete freedom of movement in the city, and AQIZ controls most of the town. Daily battles rage between the marines and the fighters around the Gov Center. 2/28 pursues a containment strategy to isolate Ramadi. Residents begin to flee the city in anticipation of a US Fallujah style takedown due to AQIZ (Al Qaeda Iraq) presence. SIGACTs average around 40-60 a day. Attacks against CF are 20+ per day, and tend to be complex. There are less than 300 IP's on the books, and less than 100 report to duty daily in a few decrepit stations on the periphery of the city, and undertake no missions or security duties. The major bases east and west of town are mortared/rocketed multiple times per day from both rural and open areas. COL Devlin, I MEF G2, declares Anbar irretrievably lost. 1/1 AD was charged basically with keeping a lid on things, and preventing an AQIZ sanctuary. COL MacFarland, the commander, was given essentially a free hand to do what he wanted, because things couldn't get much worse.

1/1 AD brings a slightly different experience base to Ramadi. First, they are an in theater transfer from Tal Afar, and followed 3ACR's success. There 1/1 AD learned a lot about local governance development, combat outposts, and tribal cooperation. COL MacFarland determined not to mount a citywide assault and instead begin establishing company bases in key places, starting on the outskirts of the city and moving inward. The bases are designed to reclaim Ramadi one neighborhood at a time.

The campaign begins, and the first few company bases go in. The bases endure daily attacks for several weeks, including ambushes, VBIEDs, mortars, and complex attacks with 40-50 fighters. Over subsequent weeks, the amount, complexity, and frequency of attacks drop. We expand patrols around the base, and leverage CA teams to provide assistance to the population in the neighborhoods surrounding the bases. Although wary, the locals offer some measure of cooperation in many areas. As one area is controlled, another COP is built further in the city, and the process starts over. Two maneuver battalions participate in the initial COP expansion, TF 1-37 AR and TF 1-506 IN.

During this period, we begin to see indications of "Green(Civilian) on Red (AIF)" violence north of Ramadi. Technical intelligence indicates that AQIZ murdered a major tribal sheik in a power dispute, and desecrated his body. His tribe and several nearby tribes begin to fight AQIZ. At this point, our engagement officers, with the support of COL MacFarland, and led by CPT Travis Patriquin, begin engaging the sheiks of the area. It is determined that the sheiks are fed up with AQIZ, but lack the strength, both physical, political, and moral, to take on AQIZ, which is threatening their traditional power in Ramadi. Over time, a deal is struck with a few tribes to the NW of Ramadi, led by Sheik Sittar. We provide training and weapons to members of their tribes, and they join the IP's and cease supporting those attacking us. We cooperatively will work to rid Ramadi of AQIZ. The announcement of the Anbar Salvation Council is made, and greeted with skepticism by outside sources.

We begin police recruitment large scale in August/September. As outlined in CPT Patriquin's "How to win in Al Anbar" PowerPoint, groups of tribal militia are sent to Baghdad and Jordan for police training, while the other half protect the tribe. When one group comes back, another departs. By December over 1000 IP's have been trained and are active in the force. The IP's are deployed into stations protecting tribal areas. AQIZ flees these areas and the surrounding tribes take notice. One by one, the tribes approach the SAA council and us and ask to join. We wholeheartedly accept, and when a tribe joins an IP base is created in their area, supported by CF. The US units in the area provide backup and support to the tribal fighters when attacked by AQIZ. By November, most of the area north and west of Ramadi has been secured by tribal forces backed by US and IA heavy units. The main bases to the west of Ramadi received virtually no indirect fire attacks from October forward. Attacks on CF in these areas drop to Zero, and many caches are revealed. As each tribe comes on line, it adds to the IP recruits, and civil affairs projects are targeted to those areas.

East of Ramadi remained a problem. In late November AQIZ attacked a tribe in an area immediately east of Ramadi that was about to "flip". AQIZ murdered about 20 members and began burning houses. Locals fled across the river in boats and approached an Iraqi Army Outpost north of the river, and described the situation. CPT Patriquin called the local sheiks for a better description. We made contact with the tribal sheik who begged for help. We immediately shifted air and ground resources to the area, and AQIZ began to withdraw. We clearly caught a body being dragged behind a car on UAV as AQIZ withdrew west. TF 1-9 IN emplaced blocks and in cooperation with USMC airpower we targeted and destroyed three AQIZ vehicles fleeing the scene.

The that evening we sent companies of 1-9 IN into the area, who established presence to support the attacked tribe. Other tribes, seeing the forces, requested help. Over the next weeks an area that was previously considered "no go" terrain became supportive as every tribe in the area "flipped". Almost all the major outer Ramadi tribal areas were now friendly to CF. TF 2-37 Armor (TF 1-6 IN began it in that sector until Oct) and TF 1-9 IN developed and maintained the tribal relationships, and ensured AQIZ could not retaliate against the friendly tribes.

While the outer area fight was occurring, the bases in the city were expanding under TF 1-37 AR, TF 1-77 AR, and 1/6 Marines (1-35 AR and 1-506 PIR began the processes but rotated in Oct/Nov 2006). The Marines under 1/6 were able to leave their embattled outposts and established new bases in northern Ramadi where AQIZ had fled as the base footprint expanded. The fighting was heavy but brief, and AQIZ was largely driven from the western and Southern Ramadi Areas. We moved to establish a joint command center for IP/IA/US forces, and the SAA appointed a mayor for Ramadi to establish local governance. In January things had progressed that th IP and IA waged a major fight that expelled AQIZ from west Ramadi during a fight at the "White Apartments". This action, while backed by US, was conducted entirely by IP and IA working together.

At this time (February) 1/1 AD changed out with 1/3 ID, who enthusiastically adopted our concept of operation and continued with it.

By April, 1/3 ID reported that every tribe in Ramadi was cooperating with SAA, and attacks had dropped to less than 1/day. The campaign rippled outward to the rest of Anbar. 1 MEF and 2 MEF were more than happy to assist.