The US Marines took over the city of Fallujah from the 82nd Airborne this week. Despite immense respect for the Army soldiers doing their duty in Iraq and across the globe, I’ve got to think that the USMC’s training, mind-set, and less-restrictive red tape has got to give them an advantage, even over the Airborne. These Marines took part in the drive on Baghdad last year, have been home to rest and refit, have undergone training incorporating lessons from last spring’s invasion and the months of occupation, and are now back.
The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force issued a statement saying it was “conducting offensive operations … to foster a secure and stable environment for the people.” It went on to say that “some have chosen to fight. Having elected their fate, they are being engaged and destroyed.”
Fallujah has been a thorn in our side, and a hotbed of anti-freedom activity. I expect that the citizens of the area will remain radical for years to come, and that there will be danger there long after the rest of Iraq has settled down.
I also expect that the Marines are going to be killing a fair number of insurgents and terrorists.
UPDATE: Intel Dump has a great post on the Fallujah situation, especially how the “kinder, gentler” approach doesn’t work so well when they’re shooting at you. Go read.
Also, ACE, thinks I’m out of line when I think the Marines might be better than the 82nd. Man for man, I doubt there’s a whole lot of difference. The reason I tend to think the Marines might have an edge is due to force size and structure. The Airborne is based upon the same expeditionary mind-set, and it receives more training than typical Army infantry. But it’s still tied to the same Army bureaucracy. Plus, these Marines are Iraq veterans back after a break, so once they get back in the groove I expect to see a lot of good things. As I will when this brigade of the 82nd returns to Iraq, which they certainly will at some point if the insurgency doesn’t let up.