As the 3/25 Marines return home and memories of the very high price they paid come back to us all, there is no better time to take a look at the accomplishments made in the Anbar province over the last several months.
Along with units of the 2/2 Marines, the 3rd CAR, 82nd Airborne, and others (48th BCT, 28/2nd BCT, 2/69AR, etc.) the 3/25 participated in search and destroy operations such as Matador and Spear, which paved the way for the more recent operations such as Restoring Rights and Hunter, or the current Iron Fist.
The Anbar province has long served as a hiding area for terrorists and their supply lines from Syria.
These and similar operations in Anbar and Ninewa provinces have resulted in the death or capture of hundreds of terrorists. This has led to actionable intelligence, which in turn led to the capture or killing of many high value targets.
The killing of Abu Azzam al-Iraqi, the top al Qaeda deputy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Monday is a good example.
As the "Emir of Baghdad" he is estimated by Iraqi officials to be responsible for the deaths of over 1200 civilians in Baghdad through car bombings and other attacks.
For much of 2004 he was the "Emir of Anbar Province" and led the largest group of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters in Falluja.
We've had the chance to meet some of those involved in the Anbar Campaign duing our visits to Landstuhl in Germany and thank them personally.
Please consider finding a way to thank them, too.