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AR RAMADI Iraq (July 16, 2005) - Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, search two Iraqi men at a corner store in the Al Anbar capital city July 14 during Operation Fire. Marines with the Camp Pendleton, Calif., based infantry battalion stopped traffic in various parts of the city and conducted vehicle and personnel searches during the three-hour operation, which netted the capture of seven insurgents. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

1/5 Marines halt Ramadi traffic, capture insurgents

14 Jul 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, conducted Operation Fire in the Al Anbar capital July 14, which resulted in the capture of seven insurgents. The three-hour operation involved multiple elements of the infantry battalion and was conducted for the purpose of uncovering weapons and capturing enemy combatants, according to Capt. Arturo Hernandez, assistant operations officer with Headquarters and Service Company. At midmorning, four platoons of Marines took to various parts of the city in humvees and 7-ton trucks, where they blocked traffic and conducted vehicle and personnel searches, a new procedure for 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. “The (insurgents) aren’t expecting us to do this,” said Sgt. Brian S. Foster, squad leader, 1st Squad, 4th Platoon, Company A, as he and his Marines approached several cars, which were made to stop in the street, and proceeded to search them. Accompanying the 27-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va., and his squad in the searches was a K-9 team consisting of a Marine handler and military working dog. “The dog will help us find weapons,” he said. “We’re looking for weapons, IED (improvised explosive device) making material and enemy propaganda.” Marines with 1st Squad searched several cars, Iraqis and even a small corner store located beside the street where several men were gathered. They identified two men they believed had ties to the insurgency. Foster made the decision to take them into custody for questioning. Marines operating in other parts of the city captured five more insurgents in the same fashion. This “new approach” was designed to “deceive the insurgents’ and catch them off guard,” said Hernandez, a 33-year-old from San Diego. The infantry battalion has been in the city conducting security and stabilizations operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March. These operations consisted of combat patrols through neighborhoods, raids on houses and business and cordon and knock missions in an effort to quell the insurgency for the past five months. Though proven effective, changing methods can prove beneficial and did so during the undertaking. “Just when the insurgents think they know how we operate,” said Hernandez, “we change what we do. They don’t know what’s next.” Hernandez said that insurgents have shied away from hiding weapons in their homes and have resorted to concealing them in vehicles, front yards of their homes and farmland. First Battalion, 5th Marines is on to the insurgents and “will continue to track them down and capture them.”