AL ANBAR, Iraq -- Marines with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment have a large area of operations and sometimes they need to form new platoons to maintain military presence over the areas.
The result is a platoon called “Team America”, which has Staff NCOs and officers in squad leader positions.
The unit consists of approximately 40 Marines from a variety of combat military occupational specialties to include snipers, anti-armor men, mortar men, machinegunners and infantrymen from different sections of Weapons Company.
“Some of the Marines have been in the service as long as I have,” said Maj. Lawrence J. Catalano, Weapons Company commander and Buffalo, N.Y. native. “This gives us years of experience, that’s what makes this team different from other infantry units.”
The team operates on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis conducting counter-indirect fire, information operation, and civil-military operations.
“This is a direct action team with a high operational tempo,” said the 38-year-old Catalano, who is an 8th grade history teacher at Orchard Park Middle School when not serving on active duty. “We were able to put together an entire platoon and complete our first mission within 24 hours.”
The team’s first mission was in support of a civil-military operation in South Dam village. The team provided security for a civil affairs officer who visited the local clinic and neighboring school.
“These guys had all their points covered with the greatest precision,” said Catalano. “They secured the area within minutes. The operation went off without a hitch and I’m proud of these guys.”
Team America’s first mission’s success is a sign of things to come within the unit.
“This is the first time we ever tried this and after today’s successful mission we can see that we will apply this planning to other platoons like this if we needed to,” said the 1985 Clarence High School Graduate.
“This team really represents America’s patriotic spirit,” said Catalano, who holds a bachelor’s degree in American History from Canisius Community College and a master’s degree in history and education from Buffalo State University. “This country was suffering before we got here and we are trying to fix that.”