FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The Marines of C Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, searched open fields and farmland for weapons caches under the cover of darkness with the help of C Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, attached to 1/24 for Operation Three Swords Jan. 22.
Marines were dropped off and Operation Three Swords was underway. They moved from house to house securing the area and watching the backs of their fellow Marines moving through the neighborhood.
The battalion is currently conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar Province, Fallujah, Iraq in direct support of Regimental Combat Team 6.
“The platoon was broken down into three lanes, and we proceeded to clear the area from north to south,” said Cpl. Jonathan J. Zainea, a 24-year-old rifleman from Jackson, Mich. “We pushed from our assault position to our limited advance point continuously probing for weapons and asking the locals if they had seen any insurgent activity.”
They moved swiftly and silently through the muddy farmland keeping a watchful eye out for any hint of terrorist activity.
“We spread out and pushed through a lot of area to find any weapons caches,” said Lance Cpl. Jason D. Polzin, a 22-year-old rifleman from Mount Pleasant, Mich. “We also checked in some homes for weapons and tried to clean up the area.”
No weapons were found, but the Marines were happy to make their presence known in the area and to speak with the local people.
“I think it was good to show our face in a different part of Fallujah to let the locals know that we are still in the area,” Zainea said. “Hopefully word of mouth can spread that we aren’t just focused on one spot, that we will check as many places as we have to.”
The terrain was new to many of the Marines familiar with fighting in the urban environment of Fallujah. During the mission, Marines waded through irrigation ditches, waist deep mud, five-foot-high reeds and animal waste.
It may slow down their speed of movement, but not their determination to show that no area is safe for terrorists and there are no places the Marines won’t go to search for threats to Coalition Forces.
Marines from C Company reached their southern limit for the patrol, set up a perimeter and provided security for their fellow leathernecks still patrolling toward the rally point.
They loaded into their vehicles to conclude their part of Operation Three Swords and headed back to their forward operating base. Although their patrol began at 3:00 A.M. and didn’t end until 10:00 A.M., it wasn’t immediately time to catch up on sleep.
Squad leaders accounted for their Marine’s gear, ensured weapons were cleaned, and began preparations for their next patrol.