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Operation Moonlight, with a Twist

KUWAIT CITY: On the evening of my departure from Iraq, I had the pleasure to have dinner and a long conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Starling, the operations officer of Regimental Combat Team – 2. As the operations officer, Lt. Col. Starling is the architect of the slew of operations which culminated with Steel Curtain, the big push to establish a permanent joint Coalition and Iraqi presence in the Western Euphrates River Valley.

Western IraqLt. Col. Starling explained the importance of the shift from large scale combat operations to reconstruction efforts, and the push for Iraqi Army to take greater responsibility in providing from the planning and execution of missions in their battlespace. This was stressed in a recent meeting with the operations officer of the 2d Brigade, 7th Division, which operates in Western Iraq in the Baghdadi, Hit, the Hadithah Triad, and Rawah region.

As if on queue, the 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, which is operating further west in the Al Qaim region, has launched Operation Moonlight. Captain Jeffery Pool, from the 2nd Marine Division, states “From the gathering of intelligence to the writing of operational order this is an Iraqi operation.” This is a multi-battalion operation, made up of 3 companies of Iraqi troops and a company from the Teufelhunden of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, and supporting aircraft from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Moonlight is occurring just east of Ubaydi on both sides of the river, based on intelligence gathered by the Iraqi Army. The operation is “cordon and knock”, which is designed to prevent insurgents from re-establishing a presence. While the region has been quiet since Steel Curtain, roadside bombs are still being discovered and it is believed foreign fighters may be trying to infiltrate the region.

The independent planning and execution is a key to the success of the Iraqi Army and the greater security of Iraq. As is the willingness to take the initiative.

Reference

Listed below are links that reference Operation Moonlight, with a Twist:

» Iraqis taking the lead in western Anbar from Murdoc Online
Operation Moonlight, with a Twist Bill Roggio is coming home, but on his way out of the Sand Box he notes this: 1st Brigade, 1st... [Read More]

Feedback

This is great news! To bad the President didn't mention this tidbit in his speech last night. Thanks for the heads up on the 3/6 too. You have a safe trip home and a very blessed Christmas with your family. Thank you for your service in providing all of us information we would never know about otherwise. Thank you to your family for being brave enough to let you go. All the best to you and yours.

Your reports have been simply amazing and eye opening. I'll bet that were it not for you missing your family alot, you'd think about staying over there. These weeks must have been quite exciting and memorable.

With admiration.

Storm

You are a stud. Now get your a** home!

Thanks for the insightful and useful reports. Travel safe.

Good work, Bill. This is the new New Journalism.

dcr

Excellent post as you head out of Iraq!

Another excellent post Bill. You have done a marvelous job for the Marines and your readers. Thanks for your generosity and time. Have a safe trip home.

While the Front Pages of America's news papers line America's bird cages, the actual events on the ground are going into the history books. Thanks for keeping us posted.