Photo Information

KARABILAH, Iraq- (June 17, 2005) Lance Cpl. Andrew Morrison, 22, a rifleman with 3rd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team-2 from Palm Beach, Fla., awaits arrival to Karabilah. Operation Spear is conducted to destroy insurgency leadership strong points. Before the operation was over Morrison had a confirmed kill of an insurgent in a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. (Official USMC photo by Cpl Neill A. Sevelius)(RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Neill A. Sevelius

3/2 Marines stop SVBIED in its tracks

18 Jun 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

As the afternoon approached on the second day of Operation Rohme (Spear), Marines with 3rd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, engaged and destroyed a suicide car bomb. Sergeant Jorge Zamora and Cpl. Jesse P. Ybarra engaged the vehicle as it sped toward their unit’s position; successfully stopping it and preventing death or injury to their fellow Marines. They were moving their M240G medium machine gun into position on the roof of their base when they identified a blue water truck racing toward 3rd Platoon’s position. Zamora and Ybarra fired warning shots in front of the vehicle but it continued on its path. “When it didn’t stop we shot rounds at the grill and four Iraqi males jumped out of the vehicle. The vehicle kept coming toward us after they jumped out and took off running,” explained Zamora, a 25-year-old Los Angeles native. “I’ve never seen any one run that fast in sandals,” explained Ybarra, a 27-year-old Pawpaw, Mich., native. As the vehicle continued moving Zamora and Ybarra fired at the tires and the windshield in case anyone was still driving and succeeded in stopping the truck, which was later destroyed by an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank’s main gun. The secondary explosions verified the vehicle was a improvised bomb and intended to take out their position. As Zamora and Ybarra engaged the vehicle, Lance Cpl. Andrew R. Morrison, a rifleman from Palm Beach, Fla. who was on the roof as well, saw the insurgents leap from the truck. “After we shot warning shots in front of the truck, the first two insurgents jumped out unarmed and took off running,” said the 2001 Atlantic High School graduate. The two unarmed men were not engaged by rifle fire. “After they jumped out (of the vehicle) another guy jumped out carrying an AK-47 so I immediately opened fire shooting him.” Once Morrison killed the insurgent he then directed his fire on the truck until it came to a stop. According to Zamora, Morrison’s quick reaction and thinking saved Marines lives. “He didn’t hesitate. His fellow Marine’s lives were in danger and he took care of the situation like a Marine,” Zamora explained. Morrison explained the main thing that helped him make a quick decision in a hectic environment. “Our training helped me out today. One, because I was able to engage him from about 300 yards away, and two because I knew the rules of engagement and quickly put them into effect,” Morrison said.