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Marines serve eviction notices to Husayba insurgents

23 Sep 2006 | Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis

The “Betio Bastards” are serving eviction notices to unwanted insurgents in Iraqi neighborhoods here.

Marines with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, are moving their foot patrols house to house in a continuous effort to kick the insurgency out of local Iraqi neighborhoods.

“We’re dealing with an enemy that disguises themselves within the local populace,” said Sgt. Roberto A. Mendez Jr., a section leader with 81 mm Mortar Platoon.

So, the 21-year-old from Yonkers, N.Y., and other mortarman under Regimental Combat Team 5 are going door to door looking for bad guys. So far it’s sending a message.

“It’s letting the neighborhood know that we’re trying to stop the insurgency and keep them safe,” said Pfc. Ryan L. Ward, also a mortarman with 81 mm Mortar Platoon.

The 19 year old from Baxter, Tenn., said Iraqis are also becoming a lot friendlier.

“When we come around, Iraqis come out here more,” Ward said.

He noticed that people are a lot happier since the first day he and his Marines stepped foot into the area. They sometimes wave, smile and greet Marines from their homes.

“We know that we’re winning hearts and minds and they’re winning ours,” Mendez said.

They even invite Marines to stay at their house. Marines talk to them and find out that there are many Iraqis being affected by insurgent attacks.

Once they met a man smeared with oil in turmoil sitting on a car wreck that looked like crumpled aluminum foil. He explained to the Marines why he was troubled.

“He said he was going to work north of this area when insurgents stopped him in his car,” Mendez said. “They told him to get out and set his car on fire with gasoline.”

He was now attempting to salvage the $20,000 truck because he had no job, no money and nine kids to feed. Many Marines were sympathetic toward the man. The unit told the man they would see if there was any way they could help.

Still, Marines patrol to try to prevent situations such as these.

“Our presence will mandate whether or not insurgents show their face,” Mendez said.

He said it doesn’t matter if insurgents want to act, though.

“Regardless, we’ll be there to protect the people,” Mendez said. “When they do want to try something, we’ll deny them activity, and they more than likely are going to get caught.”