Last Marine training team in Iraq returns home


A team of 13 Marine trainers assigned to Iraqi Marine Training Team 03 left Iraq on Oct. 14. They comprised the last Marine team of Operation New Dawn, and spent the last several months training Iraqi marines in patrolling, night operations and other skills. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Rauel Tirado)

It has been a long time coming.

More than eight years after the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq, the last Marine team involved in Operation New Dawn has left the country.

Iraqi Marine Training Team 03, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., rolled out on a convoy to Kuwait on Oct. 14, according to a U.S. military news release. They trained the Iraqi marines in patrolling, night tactics, marksmanship and other military skills.

The training team instructed more than 1,200 Iraqi marines and conducted over 500 combat patrols with them in and near Umm Qasr, a port city in southern Iraq. They also trained the Iraqi troops how to board naval vessels and conduct missions tied more closely to amphibious operations.

It’s a long way from the battlefields of Fallujah and Ramadi. Other U.S. Marines will remain behind in an unrelated mission to guard the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and other State Department facilities.

UPDATE: Marine officials at the Pentagon tell us that there are now about 50 Marines left in Iraq. They include embassy security guards and a handful of Marines serving in joint billets.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.

1 Comment

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