20 November – 23 December 2005: Combined Arms Exercise

051125-M-0000S-000The battalion arrived at Twentynine Palms for Combined Arms Exercise on 20-21 November 2005. — Source: 3/3 Command Chronology for the Period 01 July to 31 December 2005


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MITT to train Iraqi soldiers

By Sgt. Monroe F. Seigle | Marine Corps Base Hawaii | December 02, 2005

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MARINE CORPS BASE TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Marines from the Military Iraqi Transition Team with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, are scheduled to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed, 3/3 will teach Iraqi Infantry Battalions skills necessary to conduct military operations on their own.

Currently, 3/3 Marines are readying themselves for the deployment to Iraq by honing their infantry skills in the desert at Marine Corps Base Twentynine Palms, Calif.

MITT, which consists of 11 Marines from various military occupational specialties, will be teaching Iraqi forces techniques similar to those the Marines use.

According to Capt. Quinten Jones, 32, from Memphis, Tenn., and an assistant team chief with MITT, 3/3, their goal is to train the Iraqi soldiers the skills required for them to be able conduct operations in their country, without the assistance of the Marines.

When the Marines from MITT deploy to Iraq, they will be living, eating and sleeping with the Iraqi soldiers, while teaching them as many infantry skills as they can during the seven-month deployment.

Jones said one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome is the fact that they must teach the soldiers fighting skills as well as overcome language barriers and cultural differences.

“Iraqi civilians are our primary translators while in Iraq,” said Jones. “They have no problems translating what we tell the troops, but the precise instructions can still get lost in translation.”

According to Jones, more than 75 percent of the Iraqi troops are new recruits. Additionally, the MITT team’s first conquest when they initially arrive in Iraqi is to assess the skill level of the Iraqi troops and build upon their current skills.

“Some of the soldiers from the old regime are still serving, but there is very little concern about them wanting to support Saddam,” said Jones. “They were just serving to make a living and have little or no loyalty to Saddam and his regime.”

As the deployment date nears, the Marines from MITT are being challenged with the desert heat as they practice calling for artillery support and air strikes, while sharpening marksmanship skills and practice providing emergency medical care.

“This is going to be the United State’s bid for success — by using these advisor teams,” said Staff Sgt. Freddy Williams, 30, from Crestview, Fla., and a communications chief for MITT. “The most rewarding aspect of these missions will be when we can withdraw our troops from Iraqi knowing the Iraqi Army can handle doing operations in their own country.”

Source: Marine Corps Base Hawaii


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