ZAIDON, Iraq -- During Operation Trifecta the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, with support from surrounding units, performed house-to-house searches and wide spread cache sweeps here, Nov. 14 through the 18.
The Marines detained more than thirty suspected insurgents and located more than 1,000 mortar, artillery rounds and rockets; 20,000 rounds of ammunition for small arms and over a dozen weapon systems, including AK-47’s and Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers, according to Maj. Timothy M. Bairstow, the battalion’s operations officer.
“The Marines in the battalion did a superb job with the operation, reducing the insurgent’s ability and spirit to fight,” said Maj. Christopher Dixon, Battalion Executive Officer. “Targeted personnel and numerous weapons caches were discovered and destroyed.”
The five day operation included Company E, Company F and Weapons Company from the battalion and two squads of Combat Engineers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. The main effort for these Marines was house searches and large cache sweeps through the farm land and fields surrounding three target areas in Zaidon.
The other units involved acted as blocking forces for the raids on day one of the operation. These units included Company D, 2nd Tank Battalion, elements of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, elements of 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, Team Traveler (part of Regimental Combat Team 8’s headquarters company and U.S. Army B Troop, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment.
“The supporting units were instrumental in not letting the insurgents leave the areas we were hitting on the first day of the operation,” Bairstow stated.
One platoon from each of the companies was inserted by helicopter on Nov. 14. The ground-based forces left their respective staging areas and began the search inside the cordon elements.
After half a day of rigorous house-to-house searches and vehicle searches, 15 men were detained and sent to the battalion detention facility. At the completion of day one, the surrounding blocking forces returned to other tasks while the Marines and sailors continued with the operation.
Over the next four days, infantry squads, reinforced with combat engineers, were sent on sweep missions into the fields and houses in the areas surrounding the first day’s objectives. They also searched vehicles for weapons and possible insurgents as they searched the county side.
Trudging through the mud of freshly irrigated fields and along the edges of numerous canals, the Marines pressed forward every day to deny the insurgents the ability to fight against Coalition Forces. The Combat Engineers, with metal detectors in hand, successfully helped unearth several tons of enemy weapons that would have been used in future attacks.
“This operation was one of the most successful for the battalion and Regimental Combat Team 8,” said Dixon. “We accomplished every task we had set up and took large amounts of enemy material out of their hands disposing of it on the spot. With more operations like this the country of Iraq is well on its way to being a free democratic nation.”