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AR RAMADI, Iraq (April 18, 2005) -Knowing the importance of hydration, Marines with 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, sit in the back of a 7-ton truck and drink Gatorade before hitting the streets and conducting an aggressive combat patrol. The Marines revisited a portion of the city here where, just two weeks ago, they engaged insurgents in the biggest firefight they've had since deploying here in early March. Nothing happened during this patrol, however, and the warriors returned safely to their firm base, Camp Snake Pit. Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan.

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Charlie 1/5 warriors undaunted by insurgents’ attacks

18 Apr 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

A squad of Marines drinks fruit punch Gatorade they picked up from the mess hall as they sit cross-legged and cramped in the back of a 7-ton truck. The big rig snorts like a rogue elephant as it accelerates around a street corner transporting the warriors to their drop-off point. Marines with 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, revisited and patrolled a section of Ramadi where, just two weeks ago, they engaged insurgents in the biggest firefight they’ve had since deploying here in early March.“We’re not going to let a bunch of thugs scare us away from patrolling a part of our (area of operations),” 3rd Platoon’s platoon sergeant, Staff Sgt. John R. Walthour, said.The 36-year-old from Edmond, Okla., said he and his platoon had finished a mission there and were heading back on foot to their extraction point when they got an eerie feeling something bad was about to happen.“The locals started giving us mean looks on the way back, which made us think something was up; something was wrong,” he recalled.An unknown group of insurgents ambushed the Marines from behind.“They laid into us from the rear with machine gun fire,” said Sgt. Richard A. Gubbins, 2nd Squad’s squad leader. “We returned fire and the fight lasted about five minutes. It was long enough for one of my Marines to unload three, 30 round magazines as he laid down suppressive fire,” continued the 22-year-old from Detroit.When the smoke settled, one Marine was hit in the arm, however, he was returned to full duty a few days later.Despite the engagement, the Marines weren’t reluctant about being back and walking through the notorious neighborhoods again during the three-hour patrol.“We want to get into a fight,” said Cpl. Paul M. Odonnell, a team leader with 3rd Squad. “I’m not uneasy. We need to find these guys and stop them.”According to the 23-year-old New Burgh, N.Y., native, the recent ambush is not the only incident in this area where insurgents have attacked Company C Marines.“See that building right there,” Odonnell said as he pointed to an abandoned two-story structure while passing by it during the patrol. “That’s a sniper position. Someone shot at us from there before. There’s also a road up here where 12 IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were found. This is one of the most dangerous areas in our AO.”Gubbins, who’s a 2001 graduate of Redford Union High School, led his squad of Marines up and down the streets in the insurgent stronghold. The Marines finished conducting their patrol without incident and returned to their base, Camp Snake Pit, safely.“The patrol went well, and I was surprised we didn’t make contact,” he said. “The insurgents are still out there, though. We’ll eventually find them.”