AR RAMADI, Iraq -- As part of continuing operations to eliminate the insurgency in Ar Ramadi and to help acquaint the incoming 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment to the neighborhoods they will be responsible for, 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment recently conducted a number of patrols to find both insurgents.
The patrols are part of the normal operations that the Marines of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines have undertaken since arriving in the city more than seven months ago. However, now that 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines is here, the incoming squads and platoon leaders have begun accompanying the battalion’s patrols to see how the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines handled objectives such as searching cars, spotting improvised explosive devices and raiding suspected hiding spots of insurgents.
“A lot of insurgents live in this area,” said 2nd Lt. Tyler Holt, Platoon Commander, 2nd Platoon, Company A. “The more we can show the incoming Marines, the better.”
Their first mission did exactly that as the Marines raided a suspected home of an insurgent supporter and provided a tour of the Government Center. The second patrol however, would provide experience of a different sort.
While en route through the city, Holt thought he saw an IED on the side of the road. He called in the suspected roadside bomb to the Explosive Ordnance Detachment based at Camp Hurricane Point and directed the platoon to wait at the nearby Government Center.
Soon after EOD confirmed the IED and eliminated the threat, the Government Center came under attack from small arms fire. A firefight lasting approximately 10 minutes began between the Marines providing security for the Government Center and the insurgents.
“When the firefight died down, we pursued the attackers but were unable to find them,” explained the Chicago native. “However, while in pursuit, units again came under fire. Once again, the enemy retreated and we pursued.”
While the Marines did not capture the insurgents who attacked them, Holt still considered the pursuit a success.
“We taught the enemy that it’s going to take more than cowardly attacks to intimidate us,” the 24-year-old explained. “They learned that we are going to respond with overwhelming force and that we are going to win.”
Lance Cpl. Chase Newland, a rifleman for 2nd Squad and Bellefourche, S.D. native, agreed with Holt and considered the missions both successes.
“I suppose it would have been better if we had found what we were looking for, but we all made it back safely, which is most important,” said the Bellefourche High School graduate. While we’ve been here, we have taken a lot of bad people off the street and have taught them a lesson.”
All in all, in spite of the attacks, the missions had gone well, said Holt. The main objective was to go through the city, search for the enemy and teach 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines the lessons they had learned over the seven months they had spent in the area.
“We’ve shown them some of the teachings we’ve learned through trial and error,” said Holt. “I consider that a success.”