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Photo Information

AR RAMADI Iraq (July 10, 2005) - Corporal Michael T. Wheat, a mortar man with 4th Platoon, Company W, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, checks an Iraqi man's identification card during a mission in the city here early July 10. The 21-year-old from Merkel, Texas, and fellow Marines with 3rd and 4th Platoon conducted a raid between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., during which time they captured an insurgent responsible for launching small arms and improvised explosive device(IED) attacks on coalition forces. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Weapons 1/5 captures insurgent during night op

10 Jul 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Corporal Paul M. Titus and fellow Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment’s Company W captured an insurgent during a raid in the Al Anbar capital early July 10. The man is in Marines’ custody at the detainee facility here and is suspected to be “a leader of an insurgent cell,” according to Capt. Michael J. Butler, commanding officer of Company W, adding, “he’s coordinated small arms and roadside bomb attacks on coalition forces.” Butler said he believes the man’s capture will help to degrade insurgent activity in the city. Titus and the other Marines with the Company’s 3rd and 4th Platoons launched the raid at 1 a.m. in a portion of the city where the man was reported to be located. Titus explained “middle-of-the-night-missions” are in the Marines’ favor when going after a target. “(Insurgents) are vulnerable at night because they’re complacent,” said the 22-year-old mortar man from Yonkers, N.Y. “They have a false sense of security that they’re safe.” Titus and his comrades made the short trip to their destination in a convoy of humvees. Once they reached the neighborhood they planned to search, they set up a cordon of the area to prevent anyone from fleeing. The platoons then made short work of the house-to-house searches. “These (insurgents) have multiple safe houses,” explained Titus, a 2001 graduate of Hastings High School, while he and Marines with 4th Platoon positioned themselves outside the first dwelling and prepared to enter. “So we’re going to search multiple houses until we find him.” Titus and the Marines were in the house in a flash. They quickly searched every room, secured them of threats and proceeded to question the residents. “What’s your name,” Cpl. Michael T. Wheat, a mortar man with 4th Platoon, asked an Iraqi man to learn his identity. “Where’s your (identification card) ID?” Wheat, a 21-year-old from Merkel, Texas, said the Marines had with them the name and physical description of the individual they were after. He wasn’t the suspected insurgent so the Marines moved on searching other houses in the same fashion. “We’re exploiting their vulnerability of being complacent at night by moving quick and getting on top of them fast,” said Titus. “We’re getting in these houses fast and unnoticed. They don’t know we’re here until we’re standing over them shining our lights in their eyes. They’re totally off guard.” Third Platoon was responsible for locating and detaining the insurgent. While searching a house they positively identified a man there as their target. With prisoner secured, the Marines returned to base having successfully completed their mission. “It went like clockwork,” said Titus of the operation’s outcome. “Tactically, I don’t think we could’ve done any better.”