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Photo Information

Karabilah, Al Anbar, Iraq (June 19, 2005)-- A combat engineer with 3rd platoon, Lima Co., 3/25 prepares to to destroy a cache aramements in Karabilah during Operation Spear. (Official USMC Photo by Corporal Ken Melton)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Travis T.R. Williams

3/25, ISF conduct Operation Romhe, discover weapons cache

23 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment and members of the Iraqi Security Force uncovered insurgent weapons caches while conducting Operation Romhe (Spear).        Operation Romhe was a counter-insurgency operation conducted to isolate and neutralize anti-Iraqi forces and to destroy insurgent strong points here.        While clearing their objectives, the ISF and Marines from 3rd platoon, Company L entered a seemingly well-kept house and uncovered a large weapons cache inside.        “The ISF were searching the house while we were searching the outside perimeter when I noticed the back door ajar,” said Sgt. Steven L. Hicks, Columbus, Ohio native and platoon guide. “That’s when the ISF staff sergeant began to yell excitedly at me. When I went inside the building I saw what all the fuss was about.”        Inside the house were AK-47s, various rocket-propelled grenades, explosives and warheads set up for immediate use. They also found passports for some surrounding Middle Eastern countries.        The position of the house led the Marines to believe that this was a fall back for the insurgents who had been attacking multinational forces throughout the city.        “We collected all the weaponry and our combat engineers {destroyed} the house,” the 32-year-old 1995 Capital University graduate said. “We knew we put a damper on their efforts, but we knew that the mission was far from over so we remained vigilant.”        The next day, no more than two streets down, another cache was found inside a house near where 3rd platoon was setting up their forward operating base for the night.        Inside the house, they found more documents from foreign countries, AK-47s, explosive devices, a variety of rockets and protective vests.        They also found weapons stashed in the freezer.        “We noticed the closeness of the houses and how they were near the mosques,” said Cpl. Dennis L. Osborne Jr., a squad leader with 3rd platoon. “With all the armaments and airline tickets it confirmed our belief that we were not just fighting local criminals, but foreign fighters.”        For the second time during this operation, the Marines destroyed all of the insurgent’s weapons by blowing them in place.        These Marines along with other elements of Regimental Combat Team - 2 concluded Operation Romhe June 20 after destroying numerous weapons caches, a torture facility and a car-bomb factory as well as killing up to 50 insurgents and freeing 4 hostages.        “It felt really good to be able to destroy these insurgent strongholds and take away weapons that could eventually harm the local community and the multinational forces,” the 23-year-old, 1999 Fayetteville High School graduate said. “Operations like these prove that we are helping the people of Iraq and defending them from these terrorists.”