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Photo Information

Hit, Al Anbar, Iraq (June 29, 2005)--A Marine with 1st platoon, Lima Co., 3/25 looks at the first weapons found in the cache during Operation Sword. (Official USMC Photo by Corporal Ken Melton)

Photo by Cpl. Ken Melton

3/25 unearths weapons cache

29 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Marines with 1st platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment discovered weapons hidden in storage rooms beneath an apartment complex here during Operation Saif (Sword). The focus of the operation, being conducted by Iraqi Security Forces and Regimental Combat Team-2, is to sweep and clear the city of insurgent activity in order to allow the citizens to live in peace and without fear of intimidation or indiscriminant killing. After 3rd Squad finished clearing the living spaces, and were just about to give the all clear on the storage rooms, the Marines discovered some small items that led to something bigger. “My fireteam and I saw a mysterious powdery substances and then we discovered a few rounds,” said Lance Cpl. Gilbert R. Miera, a 27-year-old fireteam leader with 3rd Squad. “Upon digging a little deeper we began to discover weaponry stashed all over the room.” The Marines found machine guns, grenades, cell phones, full magazines, binoculars, various rounds, various explosives and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making materials. Upon this discovery, the Marines searched the rooms more thoroughly and discovered more explosives and insurgent propaganda. “In the second room I discovered mortars, more IED making material, insurgent propaganda and a map of nearby Camp Hit,” said Cpl. Brent D. McKitrick, a 32-year-old fireteam leader with 3rd Squad. “Getting things like these really help make our lives as well as other Marines lives easier.” After more items were found combat engineers were called in to destroy the ordnance while the smaller weaponry was taken away. The morale of the Marines, whose previous searches the day prior turned up nothing, was noticeably boosted. “We were really relieved to have found these items because it really makes us feel better to help keep our brothers safe and to damage the insurgency,” said Miera, a 1996 Taos High School and a 2003 University of New Mexico graduate. “It totally refocuses us and it gives these people a chance to govern themselves and become a stronger society. The Marines celebrated this small victory against the insurgents by continuing onto the next objective with renewed spirit and confidence. “Every victory no matter how small is still a great victory for us,” said McKitrick, a 1991 Briggs High School graduate and Columbus, Ohio, native. “We still have a way to go, but it still feels real good to find things like these and help achieve overall operational success.”