WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the help of U.S. resources, Iraqi forces have driven much of the murderous ISIS terrorist group from the city of Ramadi, marking a key gain in the Middle East war that rages on with no end in sight.
Iraqi military leaders announced today Iraqi Security Forces seized the Government Center in Ramadi from Da’esh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State). Many call the group “ISIS”.
The coalition congratulates the Iraqi Security Forces for its success in Ramadi. The ISF operations to reach the center of Ramadi are a significant milestone on the path to clear Da’esh from the historic city and the overall campaign to defeat the terrorist group across Iraq.
“The Iraqi Security Forces, including the Counter-Terrorism Service, the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Air Force, the federal and local police, and the tribal fighters, have demonstrated their resolve in the fight for Ramadi,” said Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force supporting Iraqi security operations. “I also want to commend the thousands of troops of the Coalition who have made this success possible through relentless strikes against Da’esh, training and equipping support to the Iraqi Security Forces, and advice and assistance provided to Iraqi security leaders. This success belongs to them as well, and we will all work together to defeat our common enemy.”
Coalition support to operations in Ramadi include more than 600 strikes focused against Da’esh targets in and around Ramadi, training and equipping of multiple elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, providing specialized engineering equipment to clear improvised explosives devices, and providing advice and assistance at multiple Iraqi headquarters.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, U.S. Central Command commander, released the following statement today:
“Enabled by the efforts of the international coalition, Iraq’s security forces have secured the Government Center complex in Ramadi. We congratulate them on this important operational achievement. Coupled with other recent ISIL losses across Iraq and Syria, including at Tikrit, Bayji, al Hawl, the Tishrin Dam, and Sinjar, the seizure of the Government Center clearly demonstrates that the enemy is losing momentum as they steadily cede territory. Looking ahead, I expect our partners on the ground in both Iraq and Syria, with coalition assistance, to continue to roll back ISIL gains as we work together to defeat this enemy.”
The following is a statement released today from Secretary of State John Kerry:
We commend the Government of Iraq and the brave Iraqi forces that are displaying tremendous perseverance and courage in this fight to return the capital of Anbar province back to the Iraqi people. The Iraqi military is fighting with determination, courage, and skill to dislodge the enemy and bring closer the day when the city can be returned to families who have fled the terror of ISIL. The United States and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL have proudly supported this effort with training, advice, and equipment, as well as precision airstrikes. That support will continue as the mission in Ramadi is completed and we prepare for post-conflict stabilization.As soon as Ramadi fell to ISIL last May, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi developed a comprehensive plan for a counter-offensive. The Coalition met in Paris in early June, where Prime Minister al-Abadi presented his plan, and over a dozen coalition partners answered the call to support it, through training, advising, logistics, and stabilization support. The gains we saw today are a tribute to the prime minister’s strong leadership and his belief in a unified Iraq for all its citizens.
While Ramadi is not yet fully secure and additional parts of the city still must be retaken, Iraq’s national flag now flies above the provincial government center and enemy forces have suffered a major defeat. These gains attest to the growing confidence and capability of Iraqi forces who are fighting bravely against a ruthless adversary employing suicide bombers, snipers, and improvised explosive devices. We honor those among the Iraqi ranks who have made the ultimate sacrifice during this painstaking operation, and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. We will continue to support Iraq and its security forces as they complete their work in Ramadi and move to liberate the entire country from ISIL terrorists.
Dislodging ISIL from areas it has occupied is a central part of Iraq’s security strategy, but it is also vital to rebuild and stabilize the areas that have been liberated. In Ramadi, these efforts will be led by the Iraqi government and coordinated on the ground by Anbar Governor Sohaib al-Rawi and his team. The United States and members of the Coalition have pledged or contributed over $50 million to the UNDP stabilization fund to support these efforts. The stabilization process will be supported by thousands of local police and tribal forces, many of whom have been trained by the Coalition.
ISIL’s defeat in Ramadi is not an isolated event. It comes after losses this year in Tikrit, Baiji, Sinjar, and across northern Syria. Working with our Iraqi and Syrian partners, the United States and our Coalition will continue to apply relentless pressure and squeeze this barbaric terrorist group across all lines of effort. We will also continue to pursue diplomatic initiatives in Syria aimed at further isolating ISIL and contributing to its ultimate defeat.
Earlier this month, the U.S. military reported that as the battle for Ramadi and Fallujah continued near Al Taqaddum, Iraq, members of the Iraqi armed forces conduct counterattack missions as part of the efforts to regain control over the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-occupied cities:
Near the fight, personnel assigned to Task Force Al Taqaddum (TFTQ) are standing by to provide medical aid to Iraqi soldiers seriously wounded during these counterattack missions.
The medical personnel are part of advise and assist teams based out of Camp Manion, where coalition personnel have re-established presence for the first time since June 2015.
In addition to TFTQ providing advise and assist support, the task force also contributes to the fight by aiding Iraqi soldiers wounded in action.
Wounded Iraqi soldiers are brought to the gates of Camp Manion, where U.S. Navy corpsmen and Marines with Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, are the first responders to treat their injuries.
Bravo Company Marines provide security for the camp by conducting patrols, standing post and employing a quick reaction force (QRF) team.
Personnel assigned to the QRF must maintain a high level of readiness, and are capable of responding at a moment’s notice.
As casualties approach the entrance check point of the camp, QRF Marines and corpsmen are called to respond. Personnel quickly move to the entry control point (ECP) where the Marines immediately set up security, search the vehicle carrying the casualty and the persons in it.
Once the vehicle and personnel have been cleared, corpsmen move into action and start to aid the wounded Iraqi troops.
“The majority of the casualties come from Ramadi,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Charles Dotterrer, the company commander for Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines. “They are in the front lines in the Ramadi counterattacks, so if something bad happens to them there, they bring them to [Al Taqaddum] for medical care.”
As first responders, the corpsmen assess the patients’ injuries, stabilize the casualties and perform emergency procedures on the spot, if necessary. Based on the corpsman’s assessment, it is determined if a patient will be admitted for further care. That assessment must meet the medical rules of eligibility to determine if the corpsmen are able to provide care. Iraqi soldiers who are in danger of losing their life are seen immediately, where more routine injuries may be referred to local hospitals.
“[The corpsmen] definitely make a difference. They are the first people to see the [patients], they do the triage at the gate and call us back on the radio to report what they injuries are, and how accurate that assessment is allows us to decide whether we can accept them or not,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christina Hahn, a general surgeon and the officer in charge of the forward surgical team (FST) for TFTQ. “[The corpsmen] are very accurate [with their assessments].”
The Marines and Sailors of Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines, arrived to Camp Manion in early October 2015 and within a 2-month period have treated more than 130 casualties.
“They are doing a phenomenal job, they are getting a lot of good combat triaging experience, and they’re getting a lot of real-world experience with treating casualties,” said Dotterrer. “Very few corpsmen in the Marine Corps are getting this type of real-world experience, and I am very proud of what they are doing.”
Petty Officer 3rd Class Bryan Rileysilva, a hospitalman with Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines, said that it is a rewarding feeling to help save somebody’s life by utilizing his training and skills in real life cases.
“Not only are the corpsmen doing assessments, and are incredibly accurate, but they’re also doing a lot of emergency treatment that needs to be done right away,” said Hahn. “Every single second counts, and [the corpsmen] have done life-saving maneuvers right at the gate like needle decompressions … where it’s just a matters of seconds, so what they do is crucial.”
Saving someone’s life has become an everyday occurrence for the corpsmen of Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines, and they are happy to see that their efforts matter.
“I look at these Iraqis not just as anybody else because they are fighting for their country, they’re facing the enemy to protect their land and whatever we can do to help out is very rewarding,” said Seaman Apprentice Ryan Spencer-Smith, a hospitalman with Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines. “It also helps build our relationship with the Iraqis, and it shows them that we care and that we are trying to help them. I feel good about what we do.”
The patients don’t stay at Camp Manion for a full recovery, once they have been treated by the FST and remain in stable condition, they are transported to hospitals in the region.
The FST sends patients out with a form taped to their chest containing every single detail regarding the casualty. The paper contains information about the injuries the patient sustained, the conditions in which they were when they arrived to Camp Manion, the procedures performed, medicine administered and instructions for follow on treatment.
The corpsmen and Marines of 1st Bn., 7th Marines, continue to aid those in need in contribution to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, which focuses on defeating ISIL in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.