Operation Marne Rugged
On March 15, 2008, Multi-National Division - Center (MND-C) transitioned from Operation Marne Grand Slam to Operation Marne Rugged. Operation Marne Grand Slam had focused on clearing al-Qaeda in Iraq from the Salman Pak area, which lies east of the Tigris River. Previously, Operation Marne Thunderbolt had cleared AQI's network from the area of Arab Jabor, which lies immediately south of Baghdad to the west of the Tigris River.
Operation Marne Rugged focused on the areas further down the Tigris River Valley, where Coalition leaders believe that the approximately 30 remaining members of that insurgent network had moved. According to Col. Tom James, commander of the 4th BCT, 3rd ID, the operation will focus on the area around the town of Suwayra as well as the Samarra Jungle. Marne Rugged aims to ensure the lasting security of the southern belts by controlling the approaches to Arab Jabour, Salman Pak and by extension Baghdad.
This operation is being led by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) - notably the 3rd Brigade of the 8th Iraqi Army Division - who are working with a Military Transition Team. The 4th BCT 3rd ID will participate in clearance operations and provide support as needed while also constructing a new patrol base near Suwayra.
MND-C transitioned from Marne Rugged to Operation Marne Piledriver on April 15, 2008. Operation Marne Piledriver is the first MND-C operation to focus solely on non-lethal lines of operation and aims to build capacity for the ISF while developing the local economy and improving governance in the area of Mahmudiya, which is immediately Southwest of Baghdad.