KARABILAH, Iraq -- Corporal Jared C. Althouse, fellow Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team-2 and Iraqi Security Forces began a counter-insurgency operation here June 17.
Operation Rohme (Spear) is being conducted to isolate and neutralize anti-Iraqi forces and to destroy insurgent strongholds in and around the city.
“The objectives were divided into different sections, for each platoon,” said the 24-year-old fire team leader with 2nd Platoon, Company L. “Our platoons moved adjacently to each other so we would never be in each other’s line of fire.”
In the early morning of June 17, 2nd Platoon and Weapons Platoon provided security for the first elements of RCT-2 moving into the city advancing on their objectives.
“We were responsible for the Northern part of the city,” said Althouse, a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio native and 1999 graduate of Walsh Jesuit High School. “Usually missions like these are cordon and knock missions, but since this was an offensive operation we didn’t knock to enter this town.”
As they advanced through their sector, their training played heavily into accomplishing their objectives.
“We applied a bounding over-watch, which allowed one squad in our platoon to advance while the other provided security,” Althouse said. “From there each squad split into support and cordon teams.
“We had engineers to help us with the locked doors we encountered.”
While moving in the city, the Marines with 2nd platoon heard the distinctive sounds of other units engaging insurgents while being supported by Marine aviation and other ground elements.
“It’s awesome that we have the helicopters, jets, AAVs, (Assault Amphibian Vehicle) and tanks to support our every movement,” said Lance Cpl. Tyler H. Bales, a 24-year-old infantryman in 2nd platoon. “While we are worrying about our safety as we enter houses, it is a good feeling to know that we have them watching our backs.”
By the second day, many of the residents had departed the city leaving makeshift flags behind in their houses.
“Every time we entered a house that had the white flags I wanted to believe it was safe and that we would meet no resistance,” Bales said pausing. “But I know that insurgents have used this method in the past to lure Marines into a false sense of security, so we treat every house the same.”
Other elements of RCT-2 had found and engaged the enemy in different sections of the city. Meanwhile, the Marines of 2nd platoon remained vigilant during their mission.
Even though these Marines did not find any insurgents or weapon caches found in other parts of the city, they continued to push through their objectives helping in the overall success of the operation.