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CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq (Nov. 17, 2005) -- Paintsville, Ky., native Lance Cpl. Scotty R. Price, rifleman, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team - 2, fires a Light Antitank Weapon at a possible insurgent position during Operation Steel Curtain. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jerad W. Alexander)

Photo by Sgt. Jerad W. Alexander

Paintsville, Ky., native fires light rocket at insurgents

20 Nov 2005 | Sgt. Jerad W. Alexander

During Operation Steel Curtain, the fight to clear Husaybah and Karabilah in western Iraq, Paintsville, Ky., native Lance Cpl. Scotty R. Price was designated by his leaders to carry a light antitank weapon, known as the LAW.

While sweeping through the city of Husaybah, Price, a rifleman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, got a chance to use it in combat.

“I was providing security on the bottom floor of a house we had cleared when I got the call to head to the roof,” said the 26-year-old Price.  “When I got up there I found out [the Marines] had found a possible insurgent with an [AK-47] hiding behind a van about 80 meters away.  My squad leader told me to shoot the vehicle with the LAW.”

At this point Price pulled the weapon from his back and prepared it to be fired. 

“It was real simple.  Just extend it out, aim, click the safe and fire,” he said. 

The rocket’s motor ignited and found its way to the target, scoring a direct hit. 

“I was a little nervous, I didn’t know if [the rocket] would arm firing it at a target that close,” said Price, who worked in construction and attended the Mayo Technical College prior to enlisting. 

According to Price, he could feel the rocket exit the tube in one smooth motion without a lot of kick.  It also wasn’t too loud. After he fired it, he didn’t have any ringing in his ears or temporary deafness. 

Training to use the LAW was a simple process as well.  Price received only rudimentary training on the use the LAW just two days before the start of the operation. 

“It’s really easy to use, a lot easier than the AT-4,” said Price, referring to the standard disposable antitank rocket used by Marine riflemen. 

Another aspect of the LAW Price noticed was its weight.  The LAW weighs in at approximately three pounds, making it easy for infantrymen to carry while clearing houses and maneuvering quickly. 

“You can’t even tell it’s there,” said Price, who carried it on his 5-foot-8-inch, 160-pound frame.  “I was able to get inside of buildings and move around.  The axe I was carrying was more noticeable.”

The LAW was originally created for use in Vietnam to take out lightly armored vehicles and hardened positions.  Its 66-millimeter rocket has an effective range of approximately 300 meters.  Its launcher is collapsible and has open sights for aiming.  It’s considered a “throw-away weapon” meaning that after firing, it cannot be used again. 

“It’s a good weapon,” said Price.  “It’s a scary weapon.”