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Photo Information

Haditha, Al Anbar, Iraq (May 26, 2005) - Platoon Commander Sean M. O'neill, 28 of Sewickly, Penn., with 3/25, 1st platoon pauses to speak with Marine during a nightpatrol for an operation here recently. (Official USMC photo by Cpl. Ken Melton)

Photo by Cpl. Ken Melton

3/25 conducts Operation New Market disrupting insurgent activity in Iraq

26 May 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Marines with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment participated in day and night patrols along with other elements from Regimental Combat Team-2, during the four-day Operation New Market. The purpose of the operation was to disrupt insurgent activity in the area, which had increased during the past few weeks. “We are helping establish a 24-hour force presence that will throw the insurgents off balance and hopefully lure them from hiding,” said Captain Sean M. O’Neill, platoon commander for 1st Platoon. “We also continue to search for weapon caches and anything else that looks suspicious.” The Marines landed by helicopter on the eastside of the Euphrates River as other forces pushed in from different directions. “We searched the island, secured a bridge and made sure that the insurgents could not escape,” said the 1994 graduate of Quaker Valley High School. “From there we secured a base of operations amongst the trees and waited for nightfall to continue with the rest of our mission.” As darkness engulfed the region, the Marines began to patrol the streets while remaining aware of their surroundings as they worked their way to the next objective. “While operating in the dark, we have the advantage of working under cooler temperatures,” said the 1998 Bethany College graduate. “This way we worry less about the heat and confronting innocent civilians and more about the insurgents’ activity at night.” During their patrol, the Marines studied the town’s infrastructures for future civil-military operations and searched houses to obtain information on the insurgents’ whereabouts. “Most people are happy to see us even at such at an odd hour,” said the 28-year-old. “Some of the people are willing to help, while others remain hesitant because they are uncertain if the insurgents will return to hurt them.” As the morning approached, the squads of Company K had returned to the staging point and began to prepare for the next mission objective. “We are accomplishing our part in this mission without any problems and we are happy to be here doing so,” O’Neill said. “The main reason why this mission has been so successful is because of our great NCO leadership. I can honestly say this is one of the best platoons I’ve ever been with and this has been one of the most successful missions in my career.” The Marines with Company K wrapped up their part of the mission by returning to the east side of the river and completing another clearing mission. “This is the first time in a year that any U.S. forces have operated on both sides of the river,” O’Neill said. “We have completed this mission so successfully that the insurgents will know that they are not safe anytime or anywhere.”