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Operation Jaws V takes a bite out of insurgents

4 Mar 2006 | Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Zahn

Marines from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment wrapped up Operation Jaws V, disrupting insurgents’ efforts to launch mortar and improvised explosive device attacks against Coalition Forces.

The operation was spearheaded by Company E.  Second Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment is serving with Regimental Combat Team 5 in Iraq.

The operation was conducted in the “Shark’s Fin,” region of the greater Fallujah area, a more rural setting.  Instead of patrolling through the heart of the city, Marines found themselves in more sparsely populated areas, combing the countryside.

“Our mission was to interdict indirect fire and improvised explosive devices,” said Capt. David W. Pinion, Company E’s commander.

The most effective way to complete that mission was to simply lie in wait along the roadside for someone to come along and plant an IED. The open terrain easily lent itself to the task of hiding a squad from the eyes of the insurgents.

“They’re used to us patrolling through an area and then leaving,” said Sgt. Donald L. Reynolds Jr., a 23-year-old squad leader from Philadelphia, assigned to Company E. “They’re not used to us staying in the area.  For three days we laid in ambushes along the road in nearby canals.  The insurgents are more bold out here.  We caught guys … in the middle of day digging holes for IED’s.”

Marines employed more traditional techniques, since the open farmlands allowed for greater maneuverability.

“I felt like I was a Marine again,” said Cpl. Jose A. Pego, a 21-year-old squad leader from Newark, N.J. “We got to fully put to use all the training we received. We were using real formations, instead of just a tactical column. We got to use cammie paint, set up ambushes – all the things you can’t in the city.”

While Reynolds’ squad was lying in wait, Pego led his squad in several patrols searching for weapons caches. 

“We provided security for the engineers while they searched the area for caches,” Pego, said. “That’s what made it so great.  You could use every asset the Marine Corps had available. We used engineers, psychological operations, snipers, dog teams … whatever we wanted to.”

Marines turned up numerous caches containing IED making materials, including mortar and artillery shells, detonation cord, timers and other items. They also turned up several mortar tubes in a mixture of sizes.

The success of the operation will have longer effects on the mindset of the insurgents.

“If they want to go and lay more IED’s in the road this should make them look over their shoulder,” Pinion said. “When the guy who goes to check the area out is asked if there are any Americans there all he can say is I don’t know. They had no idea we were there for this operation until we engaged them.”