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Marines of 2/5 search for the enemy

24 Sep 2004 | Lance Cpl. Graham Paulsgrove

They were armed, armored and ready when they showed up at a local pool hall in downtown Ar Ramadi. The man at the door happily let them in to look around. He understood what the Marines were after.The Marines from 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, went into the heart of Ar Ramadi Sept. 24 to search door to door for Anti-Iraqi Forces, illegal weapons caches and equipment. Their intent was to disrupt insurgent activity in the area."The purpose of the mission was to disrupt the ability of the Anti-Iraqi Forces by seizing their material, interrupting their command and control and interrupting their operations over all," said Lt. Col. Randy Newman, 41, commanding officer, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.The battalion did just that. Materials for the construction and detonation of improvised explosive devices, anti-coalition propaganda, weapons and various communication devices were seized during the raid. "While no significant insurgent leaders were found during this operation, we interrupted the AIF's abilities to fight in Ramadi," said Newman, a native of Economy, Ind. "We have impaired their command and control, and interrupted their communication."The mission also showed the people of Ramadi that the Marine Corps is in full force, working towards a common goal of decreasing the terrorist threat."This mission showed our presence," said Gunnery Sgt. Patrick M. Tracey, 37, a Pittston, Pa., native and company gunnery sergeant for Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. "The Iraqis are good people and they are pushing for the same goals we are. We want them to know that if they tell us where the bad guys are, 2/5 will do something about it."Some Marines feel that media reports coming out of Ramadi do not accurately portray the level of commitment the Marines have toward protecting the citizens of the city."Some newspapers are saying that we have surrendered Ramadi to the insurgents, but that is false," said Newman. "So if nothing else, we showed the people of Ramadi that we are willing to go into the heart of the city whenever we want. We are not going to let the insurgents terrorize Ramadi's citizens."The Marines of 2/5 completed the mission but not without coming across hostile insurgents."It is important that the citizens of Ramadi know that we are out there in an attempt to separate the good men from the bad men," said Newman. "(The bad men) will not find safe haven in downtown Ramadi."As the Marines of Company F fought to separate the good from the bad, one of their brother's in arms lost his life. "We had a road locked down and as we were driving away I heard 'Tap-tap-tap' behind me. A transformer went down and then all hell broke loose," said Sgt. Daniel I. Lebron, 24, a native of Long Island, N.Y., and a rifleman with Company F, 2/5. "I jumped out of my vehicle and engaged a target downrange."The Marines managed to repel the enemy's attack and continue on, but the loss of a fellow warrior would not go unnoticed. "Our Doc, dodging rounds, got to him in less than a minute but he was already dead," said Tracey. "It is hard to say it was a successful mission when you lose a Marine."With their mission complete, the Marines and Sailors headed back to camp, dismounted their vehicles and removed the heavy flak jackets they had worn for the past eight hours. The AIF activity had been thwarted for the time being."If they come back, we are committed to fighting them and providing a safe city for the people of Iraq," said Tracey.