Dateline: November 30, 2007
FOB Blue Diamond, al Anbar Province
By Command Sergeant Major Larry Johnson
Good wishes friends and family, it has been a moment or two since my last reflection from the Land of Oz. Incidentally, we here refer to where you live or anywhere remotely like it as
The troop surge is succeeding and the kinetic operational activity is taking an extreme toll on al-Qaeda (AQI) and on the Jaysh al Mahid Army (JAM). On a better note, to date this month there have been 27
For now, our biggest apprehension is whether or not our legislative leaders will ensure our troops have the resources to continue to safely do their jobs and complete the mission. For whatever reason, one faction of that leadership does not want to acknowledge advancement forward as a consequence of the troop surge on the combat front here in
On a personal note, I returned to duty about a month ago from a great R&R visit to the states for 21 days. The experience could not have worked out any better; the travel, the weather, and the wonderful time spent with my family and friends was fantastic. I told Terri that I was determined to eat my way through
In the pressing future the catchphrase around here at the PRT is transition. The composition of the PRT is evolving from a Department of Defense framework to one structured of primarily Department of State and contract personnel. Before long the civilians from DoS will replace the military personnel entirely. In fact Ambassador John Negroponte the Deputy Secretary of State was here at Forward Operating Base Blue Diamond this week paving the way for just such an undertaking. In addition, the II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) our parent unit is transitioning out and being relieved in place by the I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and a whole new force structure. That transfer of authority in and of itself is a major mission and will be the source many hours of mid-night oil being spent. Finally, we are approaching a substitution to a circumstance in which the Iraqi Army (IA) and the Iraqi Police (IP) will provide the inclusive provincial security and the coalition forces will move into an over watch mission. Needless to say the next 4 months will be very demanding and we will experience many adjustments. Everyone here will be struggling to keep several balls aloft at one period in time.
That is it from Ramadi for now. I will attempt to be a little timelier with my next report. Perhaps I’ll send a holiday message. There is nothing on earth like Christmas week and the New Year celebration in a combat theater. Please reflect on the significance of that reality as you and your family rightfully and freely take pleasure in your Holiday Season together.
God Bless You All.