ISF, 11th MEU continue the fight against Anti-Iraqi Forces

10 Aug 2004 | Gunnery Sgt. Chago Zapata 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

After more than five days of fighting in the ancient city of An Najaf between elements of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and Iraqi security forces against members of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Muqtada Militia the battle still hasn't ended.

But now there's a new element to the equation.  The commander of Multi-National Forces in Iraq ordered I Marine Expeditionary Force to assume control of military operations in the Provinces of An Najaf and Al Qadisiyah, Aug. 9.

This change, however, won't alter the MEU's combat operational procedures, it is driven by the desire to increase and enhance the effectiveness of the MNF-I units in the provinces, according to an I MEF news release dated Aug. 10.

As a response to enemy operations, elements of the 11th MEU, now augmented by two reinforced Army infantry battalions and an Army helicopter battalion, continue to seek out and destroy Anti-Iraqi Forces which continue to resist the An Najaf government's rule of law and order.

AIF continue to apply the same tactics they used during operations at the holy cemetery -- launching attacks from the cemetery and surrounding areas, only to immediately run back and seek sanctuary in the mosques and buildings surrounding the Imam Ali Shrine.

The MEU's current combat operations were conducted at the request of the Governor of An Najaf.

In a move to operate efficiently, members of Najaf's Iraqi National Guard and portions of neighboring ING units were put under operational control of the 11th MEU to effectively put an end to AIF and restore peace in An Najaf.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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