Photo Information

AR RAMADI, Iraq (May 8, 2005) -Sergeant Jade C. Hill, the squad leader of 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, checks an Iraqi man's identification while one of his fellow Marines looks through his closet during a search mission in the city here. The 21-year-old from Westminster, Md., and other warriors with the infantry battalion's Company's A, C and W conducted "Operation Weston," which was a three-hour cordon and search mission of a neighborhood. The purpose of the mission was to eradicate the area of insurgents and inform the people living there of the consequences for harboring terrorists. The Marines hit three improvised explosive devises and found one 155 mm shell. One Marine received minor shrapnel wounds, and no insurgents were captured. Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

1/5 stays on offensive, searches Ramadi

7 May 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Continuing an aggressive approach to terrorism in the region, elements of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment swept through a portion of the city here during the early-evening hours of May 7. More than 200 of the infantry battalion’s Marines launched and completed Operation Weston in a neighborhood notorious for insurgent activity. The main purpose of the three-hour mission was to root out insurgent activity in the area, according to Capt. Arturo Hernandez, the assistant operations officer with Headquarters and Service Company. “We want to capture the insurgents who’re responsible for emplacing (improvised explosive devices) along the frequently traveled (mission supply routes),” said the 33-year-old from San Diego. Hernandez explained that 1st Battalion, 5th Marines and other coalition forces use the area’s roads for supply routes. Insurgents have engaged them with IEDs and small arms fire on a number of occasions while passing through. Informing residents of the hardships they’ll endure for harboring terrorists was also a reason for the mission, according to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines’ information operations officer, Lt. j.g Mike A. Quaresimo. “The people need to understand that there are consequences for allowing insurgents to operate in their neighborhood,” explained the 32-year-old Poughkeepsie, N.Y., native with H&S Company, who added the same goes for the rest of the city. The disruption of having their neighborhoods shut down for periods of time while Marines conduct searches is one consequence. “The people are inconvenienced by our searches, but they must realize insurgents are responsible for the inconvenience,” he said. “It’s unacceptable to sit back and not take action against the insurgents. They aren’t helping themselves any if they continue to let the insurgents operate here.” The mission kicked off with Marines with 4th Platoon, Company W, establishing a cordon of the objective and blocking the entry and exits with their Humvees. Shortly after beginning the operation, insurgents let their presence be felt when they detonated an IED. “While we were getting into position, we hit an IED,” said Capt. Michael J. Butler, commanding officer of Company W. The IED was a 155 mm bomb that was buried in a pile of trash and detonated on the left side of a humvee, explained Butler. No “triggerman” was observed and, luckily, the blast failed to injure anyone or damage the vehicle. After security was in place, Marines with 2nd Platoon, Company A and 1st Platoon, Company C, moved into position and commenced a detailed search of every home and building. The infantrymen were assisted in their searches by combat engineers with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, who are armed with metal detectors. Meanwhile, a second IED hit another one of Company W’s humvees, which caused slight damage to the vehicle and minor shrapnel wounds to a Marine riding in the turret, said Butler. “The second IED went off when a vehicle moved to block a lady from leaving the area,” he said. “We observed the area where we got hit and found another IED that hadn’t detonated. It was in the same hole.” They discovered a 155 mm shell with wires sticking out of it and called for an explosive ordinance disposal team to conduct a controlled detonation. Marines with Company’s A and C completed their searches and turned up empty handed, which, according to Sgt. Jade C. Hill, the squad leader of 3rd Squad, 2nd platoon, Company A, isn’t so bad. “Even though we didn’t find anything, I still deem the mission a success,” explained the 21-year-old from Westminster, Md. “We got the message across to the locals that we are going to continue to search their houses and disrupt the area as long as insurgents continue to operate out of here. We’re going to continue to show our presence with searches like this until the terrorists stop blowing things up,” added the 2001 Westminster High School graduate. Terrorist didn’t stop blasting this night, though. Some of Hill’s fellow Company A Marines were riding in a convoy back to their base, Camp Hurricane Point, after having completed their mission when they too hit an IED. The 155 mm shell detonated approximately five meters from the right side of the third vehicle in the convoy, said Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Cruz, an intelligence analyst with H&S Company. “The IED didn’t damage the vehicle or hurt anyone,” added the 21-year-old from Philadelphia, Pa.