Photo Information

AR RAMADI Iraq (July 2, 2005) --Lance Cpl. Manuel Valle Jr., a rifleman and team leader with 2nd Squad, 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, leads the way into a house during a mission in the city here early July 2. The 22-year-old from Parlier, Calif., and fellow Company A Marines conducted a raid in the Al Anbar capital between midnight and 5 a.m. and apprehended three insurgents. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Parlier, Calif., Marine, Alpha 1/5 warriors burn midnight oil, nab insurgents;

2 Jul 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Three insurgents are off the streets of the Al Anbar provincial capital and in Marine custody here after Lance Cpl. Manuel Valle Jr. and Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment’s Company A caught them during a raid July 2. Between midnight and 5 a.m., while most of the city’s residents slept, 22-year-old Valle from Parlier, Calif., and fellow 1st Platoon Marines were predators of the night, hunting through neighborhoods after their prey. The men are believed to be responsible for making improvised explosive devices and using them against Coalition Forces, explained 2nd Lt. Ewan J. MacDougall, 1st Platoon’s commander. “The raid was generated by human intelligence sources,” he added. MacDougall explained that officials with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines gained information about the men from recently captured insurgents. The Marines knew their names and whereabouts going into the operation. Valle, a rifleman and team leader with the platoon’s 2nd Squad, led the Marines’ successful pursuit. Under the cover of darkness, the Marines searched several houses for their quarry. “We’re using night for stealth, which will catch them by surprise,” said Valle, as he and his fire team crossed a dark street and moved into position to enter their first house of the night. “Our NVGs (night vision goggles) and swift movement adds to our advantage,” added Valle, who’s in Iraq for a third deployment supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Marines lined up behind one another outside the dwelling’s front gate. At Valle’s command, the Marines stormed through the gate and cut across the front yard only to be halted momentarily by a locked door. Lance Cpl. Mark T. McAuliffe, a 23-year-old from Seattle and assault man with the squad, made short work of the blockade with a hard kick and the Marines entered with their weapons at the ready. All took less than a minute and the residents were still sleeping when their camouflaged guests unexpectedly arrived. Valle and his squad leader, Cpl. Andrew D. Litz, a 24-year-old rifleman from Plano, Texas, questioned the men of the household and checked their identification cards. “This is one of our targets,” said Valle. “He’s one of the guys we’re looking for. He’s responsible for making IEDs and has been known to mix them with cement and place them on roads. He’s targeted Marines before.” The Marines bound the man with zip cuffs, blindfolded him and placed him in the back of their detainee vehicle – a high-back humvee. Two other insurgents soon joined him. They searched several more houses in the same fashion and found another suspect. While they patrolled down a street on their way to another neighborhood, Valle single handedly captured the third insurgent by chasing him down and tackling him. “I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye,” said Valle as he knelt down over the top of the detainee and tied his hands behind his back. “I turned and looked and saw this guy in a white robe running down the street away from us.” continued Valle, breathing heavy. Valle said he told the man to stop three times, but he resisted. “He kept going so I took off after him and tackled him,” Valle continued. Once Valle planted the fleeing criminal like a defensive end smacking a wide receiver, Cpl. David B. Northridge, a 25-year-old squad automatic gunner with the squad, came to his assistance. They checked the man’s ID. “His name matches the name of one of our targets,” said Valle. Valle and Northridge, a Billings, Mont., native, then dragged the insurgent over to the detainee vehicle and loaded him up. The Marines searched several more houses before returning to their base five hours after they started their raid. MacDougall was pleased with how the operation turned out. “We went out with a goal in mind and accomplished it,” he said. “When we do a raid, we have a goal in mind, which is good for the Marines. It gives them a sense of accomplishment.”