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Photo Information

AR RAMADI, Iraq (November 1, 2005) - Sergeant Elias Gonzalez, a combat engineer with 2nd Platoon, Company C, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, searches for possible improvised explosive devices and weapons caches during a raid Nov. 1. Photo by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

Photo by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

Combat engineers work with 3/7 to find IEDs

1 Nov 2005 | Cpl. Shane Suzuki

Marines from Company C, 1st Combat Engineers Battalion, recently accompanied Combined Anti-Armor Team White on a raid Nov.1 to search local businesses for weapons caches and insurgent information. This raid was an attempt by the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment to further increase their presence in the city here and to increase the number of information sources available to the battalion. The engineers’ job during this operation was to use their metal detectors to find buried weapons and to be prepared to breach inaccessible buildings. “We provide a special element to the search teams,” said Sgt. Elias Gonzalez, combat engineer. “We can identify (improvised explosive device) materials or IEDs themselves. We also have mechanized and urban breaching capabilities if they are needed. However, our primary mission this time was to find any buried caches in or around the designated search area.” Although the mission came up empty in terms of weapons and IED caches, both Weapons Company and the engineers are optimistic about future raids and what they could mean for the battle here. “We are available and looking forward to the next one of these,” said Gonzalez. “Missions like this, where we are used to find IEDs and weapons are really important. The more caches we find, the more we impact the enemy’s ability to attack us. We haven’t found any significant caches yet, but we know they are out there.” During the raid, an assault team from CAAT White secured the area before a search team with the engineers was sent in. They quickly began sweeping the area with their metal detectors and were called a couple of times to open locked cars and safes that were on the premises. “For the next raid, we are expecting to be used in more open ground,” he said. “Places where the enemy is more likely to hide weapons. If they are there, we will find them.” Even though every mission doesn’t require the engineers’ support, the Marines of 2nd Platoon, Company C, 1st CEB are ready to help anytime they are needed. “By working with units like Weapons Company, we are able to get out in the city and really help out,” said Gonzalez. “When we aren’t out on missions we are putting up buildings and working on barrier emplacement to help protect our firm bases. Those jobs are just as important, but we are looking forward to finding weapons and protecting our Marines.”