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Marines in Iraq thwart insurgency

20 Apr 2006 | Cpl. William Skelton

Good intelligence proved fruitful for Marines from B Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

A platoon of the battalion’s Marines, accompanied by several Iraqi soldiers, captured two wanted insurgents April 20 after a raid in the battalion’s area of operation.  The insurgents were netted as a result of hours of intelligence work and the quick reaction of infantry Marines to close in on the targets.

“The raid went extremely well,” said Capt. Wilson M. Hopkins III, the 33-year-old company commanding officer from Ridgefield, Conn. “We detained five military age males – two of which were high-value targets.”

The mission was quickly planned, and executed without a hitch.  The Marine’s goal was to snatch a known supplier of improvised explosive devices.  The result was even greater, two for the price of one.

“We had to move fast on this one,” Hopkins said. “This target was time sensitive, so we had to act on him quickly.  The target we went after was known for placing and supplying materials to insurgents for IEDs all around the vicinity of Gharmah.”

Marines closed in on their targets in the dark. Sporting night-vision goggles, the Marines surrounded the building they suspected of harboring the insurgents and isolated it.  They sprung the raid, bursting in the house. 

Flashlights mounted alongside rifle barrels beamed blinding white light throughout the sparsely furnished house.  Inside, Marines separated, searched and bound the men. 

The five military-age men, including the two wanted insurgents, were captured. 

“The Marines performed really well,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kevin S. Oxner, the 38-year-old company gunnery sergeant from Fort Worth, Texas. “We went in searching for one target, but we came out with two.”

The detainees were taken to the battalion’s holding facility for questioning.  Marines soon realized they not only captured the man they were searching for, but also one other high value target.

“It’s a relief to know that these men are out of the game,” said Cpl. Ryan J. Cummings, a 22-year-old infantryman from Streamwood, Ill. “I think we put a dent in the insurgency in the area tonight.”

A group of Iraqi soldiers accompanied the Marines on the raid.  The “jundis” – the Arabic name for junior enlisted Iraqi soldiers – advanced in with the Marines, incorporated in their ranks.  It was the latest in a series of operations Marines and Iraqis teamed together.

“We integrated soldiers from the Iraqi army,” Hopkins said. “I couldn’t have asked them to perform any better.”

The night’s raid was satisfying for B Company Marines.  They’ve suffered casualties to small-arms and IED attacks, a lingering threat for every Marine near Fallujah.  There was a measure of justice meted out for their fellow Marines along with knowing they got the right insurgents.

“We have taken a couple of hard hits lately,” Oxner said. “It made me feel really good to get these guys.”