SOUTHWEST ASIA - Some battle-tested Marines are heading home soon.
1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment arrived here Sept. 15 this year, replacing a previous unit. The Marines supported Coalition partner forces with precise artillery strikes in the fight against ISIS in Raqqah, Syria. With the city liberated and ISIS on the run, the unit has been ordered home. Its replacements have been called off.
"With a 155mm artillery battery in the fight, their mission was to deny and disrupt ISIS from gaining ground or moving from their defensive positions," said Marine Artillery Lt. Col. Jon O’Gorman, chief of fires for Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. "These Marines rained relentless and highly accurate firepower on the enemy."
More than 400 Marines and their M777 howitzers supported Coalition forces, isolating Raqqah as Syrian Democratic Forces seized ISIS’ so-called capital city. From June 6 through the final liberation of Raqqah Oct. 20, SDF had constant Coalition artillery support.
More than 2,500 terrorists were believed to be in Raqqah at the time the offensive began. Raqqawis endured more than three years of ISIS brutality, including forced conscription and public executions under the terrorists’ rule. Raqqah became a magnet to foreign fighters who used the area as a training base and planning location for terrorist attacks on Europe and around the globe.
"The departure of these outstanding Marines is a sign of real progress in the region," said CJTF-OIR director of operations, Brig. Gen. Jonathan Braga. "We’re drawing down combat forces where it makes sense, but still continuing our efforts to help Syrian and Iraqi partners maintain security. Our remaining forces will continue to work by, with, and through partner forces to defeat remaining ISIS, prevent a re-emergence of ISIS, and set conditions for international governments and NGOs to help local citizens recover from the horrors of ISIS’ short-lived rule."