2nd LAR assumes control of western Anbar

31 Mar 2008 | Cpl. Ryan L. Tomlinson

Marines with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, took the reigns from 3rd LAR Battalion here March 31 to continue the mission of making a safer and better Iraq.

Secnd LAR Bn., is an infantry-based, light-armored-vehicle battalion stationed out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene, N.C., that will be operating in the western Anbar province of Iraq. The battalion arrived here March 23 to begin familiarization with their area of operations for the next seven months in support of the Long War.

The battalion will have several missions to conduct, but one of the most important is the continued transition from coalition forces to Iraqi Security Forces controlling the area.

"We are here to return the control of the country to the Iraqi people and to provide them with a self-sufficient and stable government," said battalion executive officer Maj. Stuart M. Harness.

Harness added the battalion’s other main goal is to bring everyone back home safely.

Beginning his command of the area of operations, battalion commanding officer Lt. Col. Russell E. Smith visited the city of Trebil to see its citizens and the Iraqi Border Patrol.

"Since the Marines came to Iraq in 2003, my country is a lot better than before," said Aziz Shalan, an Iraqi Border Patrol commando. "Life is good here."

Third LAR Battalion is scheduled to return to the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., after completing a seven-month deployment here.