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Almost 500 pieces of ordnance were unearthed following the discovery of a weapons cache near the town of Ubaydi, Iraq, Nov. 14. The cache, which contained rocket propelled grenades, machine guns, bomb-making materials and an anti-tank mine, was unearthed by a Navy explosive ordnance disposal team while security was held by Iraqi Police officers and Marines from Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Sean Cummins

Iraqi Police uncover large weapons cache

14 Nov 2008 | Cpl. Sean P. Cummins 1st Marine Division

Iraqi Police, demonstrating their ability to provide security to their country, discovered almost 500 pieces of ordnance and captured three insurgents November 14.

The police discovered the ordnance along with numerous weapons and electronics following their investigation of a recent rocket attack aimed at Combat Outpost Ubaydi.

“It was a significant find, one of the largest finds recently.  It is a significant amount of ordnance.  Had that ordnance been targeted against U.S. forces, it could have had catastrophic results for our personnel,” said Chief James E. Wightman, 40, from Adair, Iowa, chief explosive ordnance disposal and team leader from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 2, which is currently in support of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.

The Marines aboard COP Ubaydi commended the work of the local Iraqi Police force.

“It’s definitely a giant step forward for (the Iraqi Police). It definitely shows that the Iraqi Police are standing up for themselves; they can control their own city.  I think the Iraqi Police did a real good job,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffery W. Bergeaux, 28, Quick Reaction Force section leader, Company K., TF 3rd Bn., 7th Marines, from Jennings, La.

Although finding the weapons cache is a big step forward for the Iraqi Police, they are not using it as an excuse to relax as they know there is still more work to be done throughout the country.

“It’s not only Ubaydi; we need to stop these things all over Iraq.  We need to stop them because our families and our kids want to feel that our future is secure,” said Capt. Abdula Najeeb, Ubaydi Iraqi Police, through a translator.  “We are ready, 24-hours a day for anything like this.”

Finding the cache was entirely the work of the Iraqi Police, said Bergeaux, adding that the Marines simply supervised and made sure the Iraqi Police were following the proper steps so the suspects would be taken to court.

“The Iraqi Police started getting their information from their sources, and said they were probably sitting on a pretty large weapons cache.  They wanted to make sure they were going through the proper procedures so that once (the suspects) were arrested and sent to trial that they would actually get sent away for a fairly long amount of time,” Bergeaux said.

Once the Iraqi Police secured the area and confirmed there was ordnance, the Marines arrived and showed them the proper way to perform sensitive-site exploitation.  The EOD team pulled the weapons from the ground to preserve any fingerprints on the ordnance that would help lead to the prosecution of the insurgents.

Three insurgents were taken into custody following the discovery of the cache, which contained 39 rockets, 44 rocket-propelled grenades, 65 projectiles, 10 hand grenades, 48 mortars, 273 ordnance fuses and various electronic parts for building IEDs.

The weapons cache was destroyed by the EOD team in a controlled detonation at COP Ubaydi.

“It’s going to do damage to the city if we are not taking (explosives) off the streets.  If the insurgents have them, they will destroy the city. It’s very dangerous,” said 1st Lt. Faysal Sakit Shab, intelligence officer, National Iraqi Intelligence Agency.  “The most important thing is that the Iraqi Police live in this city and that is why they keep pushing and pushing to control it.  If the city is safe, their family is safe.”


1st Marine Division