Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- The last ten Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group returned home from Iraq, Aug. 6, 2010, after spending a year training Iraqi army troops.
While the Marines of Military Transition Team 0130 were deployed, they gave advice and assisted the Iraqi army, 3rd Brigade, to advance their skills in areas like maneuvering a brigade, professional military conduct and counterinsurgency, said 1st Lt. Liam Begley, the intelligence advisor with MiTT-0130.
“We enjoyed what we were doing,” Begley added. “It was a lot of long days and cat naps, but, I’d do it again in an instant.”
The team said one of their most important missions they successfully completed was advising the Iraqi military on security in the city of Mosul during the March 2010 elections.
On election day, thousands of Iraqis voted to elect 325 members to the Counsel of Representatives of Iraq. Throughout the entire election, there were no records of violence in the area.
According to Lt. Col. Stuart M. Harness, team leader of MiTT-0130, the current mission in Iraq is to wrap things up. When MiTT-0130 first arrived in Mosul, there was still a significant amount of enemy activity in the city. During their one-year deployment, insurgency levels dropped by about 40 percent.
The Iraqi army is becoming extremely independent and is to the point where it needs little to no help from the American military, Harness added.
“We completed our mission over there,” said Capt. Charles Benbow, the executive officer of MiTT-0130. “We’re glad to be home.”