From Rafe's CO -
15 October 2008Hello MTT 0110 families,I hope this letter finds you all in good health and spirits. The team has performed magnificently since my last letter and we have been extraordinarily busy here in Baquba. Over the past seven weeks we have completely reorganized the team, supported the Iraqis through very demanding counterinsurgency operations, and watched every 1st Division MTT, spare us, complete their deployments.
Operationally, we have put over a thousand miles on our vehicles in the past month. It is clear that our brigade has made a significant impact. The area we operate within was one of the most contested areas for Iraq. Since the brigade has started working here, however, the landscape has changed. Schools are opening, roads are being cleared, displaced families are returning to their homes, and locals have created their own "Sons of Iraq" group (young men who support Iraqi Security Forces with information and local security). It is a great pleasure to be a part of it all.The most significant news for those back home is that the team has changed significantly. The 1st Battalion MTT is now merged into our team. Unfortunately, out of this combined group, I could only retain 21 Marines and Sailors. From the old MTT0110, we will lose GySgt XX, SSgt XX, and SSgt XX. These three Marines will be reassigned to a new team with a completely different mission. I expect within a week or two they will be able to contact their wives and provide a new contact for family readiness although all three families are absolutely welcome to remain in contact and involved in our KV network. We are currently coordinating a new mailing address for the three Marines that are being reassigned and I would recommend holding off on mailing anything to these three until their situation has stabilized -- probably within a couple weeks. I have asked all three to call home and answer any questions their wives may have. Additionally, we will add five Marines and one Sailor from the old 1st Battalion MTT. I am coordinating the new names with XX XX so you can all welcome them to the MTT0110 family. We are holding a farewell barbeque today complete with steaks, coleslaw, and non-alcoholic beer.
Yesterday, we remained on our small camp and conducted our first team shooting competition. The events included one-on-one soda can shooting races, discriminating fire courses (shoot bad guy vice good guy pictures), and team board cutting where we divided into two teams with the winner being the first team to shoot their board so thoroughly in one spot that it cut in half. The whole day was a good break from the daily routine and there were plenty of laughs and some impressive shooting. In the finals of the soda can competition, Captain XX defeated SSgt XX -- but only within seconds. Lance Corporal XX, Sergeant XX, and Captain XX all shot very well.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to XX XX and those of you who have participated in the "get togethers." As our team gains some of the former MTT0110 members, I believe these get togethers will help create some additional relationships.As I always, I sincerely appreciate all the support you provide us. We have passed the three month hurdle -- 33% complete and counting!Semper Fidelis,LtCol XX XXMTT 0110