Photo Information

Dam Village, Al Anbar, Iraq - Columbus, Ohio, native, Lance Cpl. Jon A. Bell, a 23-year-old SAW gunner with 2nd platoon, Lima Co., 3/25 and others members of his squad sight-in during a morning observation mission.

Photo by Cpl. Ken Melton

Marines with 3/25 on hunt for insurgents

9 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

“At 3:30 a.m, 2nd platoon, Company L will conduct a patrol focusing on the villages west of the dam,” said Sgt. Scott E. Campbell, the 2nd squad leader for 2nd platoon. “We will be focusing on suspicious vehicle traffic, point of origin sites and we will set up two observation check points before we are extracted 200 yards from our last observation point. “We will be patrolling the outskirts constantly to keep the insurgents on the move,” Campbell paused. “Are there any questions or comments?” No comments or questions were forth coming; these Marines knew what their mission was and what it would take to accomplish it. In the early morning, they would have to wake up and conduct business as usual. Moving in the shadows at four in the morning, the Marines exited the base under the watchful eyes of the Azerbaijan Army and walked three miles toward their first observation post, remaining silently vigilant for any unseen threat. “While we were walking, we stopped to verify suspected points of origin,” said the 30-year-old Toledo, Ohio, native. “We also checked roads leading up to the base for IEDs.” As they reached their first observation post, the Marines took positions amongst the desert’s natural features so they could watch over a section of the village. “We observed a section for any suspicious activity based on our intelligence reports,” said Campbell, a 1993 Graham High School. “All of our routes are preplanned and they always vary. This keeps the insurgents guessing.” After spending a few hours on the first post, the Marines began moving across the desert another few miles before reaching the last observation point. “Our last observation point was chosen so we could get a better view of vehicle traffic,” said Cpl. Rian M. Call, a Columbus, Ohio, native and a fireteam leader with 2nd squad. “We also watched certain buildings that hold importance to helping establish the foundation for a successful society.” At 9 a.m., dust clouds appeared and heavily armored vehicles came into view. The assault amphibian vehicles (AAV) were enroute to pick the Marines up and take them back to their base after a successful mission. “Missions like these are great because they keep the insurgents on their toes,” said the 22-year-old Call, a 2000 Saint Charles’ Preparatory School graduate. “By moving all the time we are staying on the offensive and keeping them from operating freely. “Even though we didn’t find any mortar men setting up, we are making the point that we are going to keep coming after them no matter what,” he said. Marines believe teamwork is what makes them so successful. “We wouldn’t have been able to operate this well if we didn’t have a great group of Marines like these,” said Campbell, a 1999 University of Toledo graduate. “These guys are the reason we are winning the war on terrorism. We go out undetected and return safely knowing that we have done our part to end this war.”