Iraqi Special Operations Forces Securing Basrah
BASRAH, Iraq – For the last year, the country's second largest city has been experiencing something it hasn't known since the war began... safer streets. Prior to January 2008, Basrah was known for being a dangerous city to live in; corruption and fear had been an everyday part of life for its citizens.
During an operation early last year, the 6th Regional Commando Battalion, along with the aid of coalition forces, took action to make Basrah a safer place.
"The city had become so bad that almost everyone except the RCB had given up on fighting the enemy," the 6th RCB commander said. "The 6th RCB continually pushed forward and did missions to clear the streets in order to control the city."
According to the commander, one of the biggest milestones in the operation was when the battalion was able to take control by going after the main leader of the terrorist activities in the area.
The leader of the terrorist movements acted as a warlord, said the commander. Everything from gang-related activities to attacks on Iraqi Security and Coalition forces were linked back to him, he added.
"He was responsible for killing people that opposed him, as well as... intellectuals like doctors and professors," the commander explained.
However, the commander said things in the city slowly became better after the 6th RCB went in and arrested the insurgent leader.
"Things progressively went back to order in the city," said the commander. "Government employees were able to go back to work and people were able to go about the city without fear of being attacked.
"Before, when all the attacks were at their highest, people were afraid to be on the streets at 3 p.m. Now people are free to be out at night and travel around the city."
Now that the city has become a safer place, it is important for the 6th RCB to continue to train and be ready for whatever they might face in the future, said the commander.
He explained that two of the most important things to be trained on are weapons maintenance and operation.
"The use of weapons like the .50 [caliber] and the 240 [automatic rifle] have been extremely important," said an Iraqi officer in the battalion. "We use those weapons in battle and it's important [for the Soldiers] to be well trained in their [use].
"Training in general is important because proficiency doesn't come when you do something just once or twice, but over long periods of training."
Soldiers in the 6th RCB train constantly in different areas of combat to be prepared for anything, the Iraqi officer added.