Operation Marne Courageous
Operation Marne Courageous, a Multi-National Division-Center (MND-C) operation, was launched on November 16, 2007, targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Sunni insurgent refuges in the Euphrates River Valley southwest of Baghdad near Yusufiyah and Sadr al-Yusufiyah. These areas had housed key supply depots for AQI and served as a transit route from Anbar province around the south of Baghdad, especially to access contested areas in northern Babil province as well as Arab Jabour and Salman Pak to the southeast of the capital. They were the target of preparatory operations in the winter and spring of 2007 preceding the launch of Operation Phantom Thunder in June, a corps-level offensive designed to disrupt AQI activity in all of the Baghdad Belts. Marne Courageous was launched as a follow-on to Operation Marne Anvil, as part of the Phantom Strike Corps offensive.
To kick off Operation Marne Couraegous, approximately 450 soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division along with 150 Iraqi Army soldiers and seventy Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) conducted a major air assault on November 16 into an area west of the Euphrates River near the Sunni villages of Owesat and al-Betra.
Following the air assault, Coalition forces also negotiated to rent land from village Sheikhs to build a new patrol base in Owesat, where coalition forces have never had a permanent presence. This is the first time U.S. force returned to the area in force since the spring. The construction of a new patrol base, along with a bridge to enable ground re-supply, enabled U.S. forces provide security to the local population while simultaneously denying AQI use of a key transit route.
In mid-December, MND-C transitioned to Operation Marne Roundup.