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‘Bastards’ fast response slows insurgent attacks

29 Sep 2006 | Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis

Don’t tell the “Betio Bastards” there’s a method to their madness. They like to think of it as madness to the method.

Marines assigned to a reaction force from L Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment are tasked with making split-second combat decisions in an area riddled by insurgent attacks.

The Marines who serve under Regimental Combat Team 5 think it’s a good approach.

“It’s the best way to do it,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremy M. Terhune, a team leader with L Company. “When Marines have to make on-the-spot choices, it helps them quicken their response time.”

The 25-year-old rifleman from Los Angeles said his Marines are experienced in improvisation operations. They have been working together this way for some months now.

So when an insurgent attack happens, his Marines will be ready.

“When we are called, you can always see us running to throw on our gear and drive out,” said Lance Cpl. Tyler M. Stockton, a machine gunner with L Company.

The 20-year-old from Helena, Mont., and other Marines aren’t always mounted. They can sometimes be found putting boots to the ground and bounding over grasslands and mounds.

Either way, Stockton is convinced his team’s swift techniques have been slowing insurgency here.

Recently, they restored a local Iraqi gas station to its original state.

“The gas station was previously closed because of insurgent activity,” said Capt. Jeff Brown, the commanding officer of L Company.

The 34-year-old infantry officer from Nashville, N.C., said insurgent activity prevented the gas station owner from operating a safe facility.

The Marines kicked out insurgents who set up attacks on Iraqi civilians and Coalition Forces there, Brown said.

Brown made an arrangement with the owner to re-open his gas station.

He said his Marines would provide protection from insurgents if the man would re-open his establishment. So far the relationship has been working.

Brown’s Marines keep an eye out for the man, and Brown visits the owner on a regular basis.

“I come to see him at least every two weeks,” he said.

Brown doesn’t plan to stop there.

He and his Marines are currently working to restore other facilities here. Brown said it is all apart of bringing Iraqis away from the fear of terrorism.

Iraqis don’t mind the help either.

“It keeps the people happy and keeps the area quiet,” Brown said.