Task Force Tripoli
Task Force Tripoli (TFT) was a United States Marine Corps air-ground task force formed after the fall of Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They were commanded by Brigadier General John F. Kelly, then Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Marine Division, and its mission was to continue the attack north and secure the city of Tikrit. The unit was task organized on April 12, 2003 in a staging area east of Baghdad and had secured Tikrit by April 15. It is the first time that the Marine Corps had ever employed an entire LAV regiment and marked the farthest inland that Marine Forces had ever pushed.
The task force was made up of units from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions, the 1st Marine Division jump Headquarters, Golf Company and a CAAT section from Weapons Company 2/23, 5/11,the DASC (Fwd) that had been supporting the Division, and a detachment from Combat Service Support Battalion-10. On April 13, Task Force Marines rescued seven American prisoners of war in Samarra. Five of the POWs were members of the 507th Maintenance Company that had been ambushed early in the war in An Nasiriyah and the other two were captured Apache pilots.
Before securing the city, the task force destroyed five Iraqi tanks and killed at least 15 Iraqi soldiers on the town's outskirts. The Marines began actively patrolling throughout Tikrit and were relieved about a week later by the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division.
On May 2, the task force was reestablished and began preparations to move down to the Iraqi-Saudi border and set into a screen line to prevent Wahabi infiltrators from moving north into Iraq. On May 3, each LAR battalion independently left the 1st Marine Division's assembly area in Al Diwaniyah and moved out to their individual staging areas. On May 4, the task force occupied the screen line just north of the border. On May 5, the task force was recalled due to a lack of activity on the border and proceeded to return to Al Diwaniyah.
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