HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- The Marines with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, conducted a company-sized sweep before dawn on Sept. 25 of areas near their home here. With frequent mortar attacks on the dam, the company set out to sweep suspected areas where most of the attacks were coming from. Their mission: locate and kill the enemy and seize any weapons caches. They encountered enemy contact shortly after the sweep began. The sound of small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades echoed through the little village. “We knew when they fired at us, we were going after them,” said Cpl. Brenden M. Wright, a Lansing Mich. native and squad leader for the company. Wright continued, “It was a wake-up call for some of the Marines. Even with a company-sized element there, [insurgents] still fired at us. They obviously mean business.” After taking fire from houses inside of the village, the Marines maneuvered so they could eliminate the threat in the area. They searched each target house to find any weapons or people responsible for the attack. “We detained a few people who we believe were responsible for firing at us,” said the 21 year-old Wright. “We also found excess weapons in a few homes.” Helping the Marines find weapons caches and explosives was Euro, a military working dog trained to find explosives. Also along for the sweep were combat engineers toting metal detectors to search for weapons underneath the dusty ground. “Our mission was to sweep the palm groves with Company L where there was weapons found recently,” said Lance Cpl. Brandon M. Mitchell, a New London, Wis. native and combat engineer with the battalion. “Even though we didn’t find much, it was still good to get the new guys out there so they can get the experience in a combat environment.” “The mission was definitely a success,” commented Wright. “We checked out some areas of interest and all of our guys came back safe.” The Marines worked from dawn to dusk to make the area surrounding the dam a safer place to live for them and the local villagers. This wasn’t the first long day they encountered so far and it won’t be the last. “We are going to continue to deter the insurgency in this area and make sure this isn’t a stopping point for terrorists moving through the country,” said Wright.