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A Marine assigned to Company F, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, posts security for his platoon deep within a Taliban-held compound, Aug. 28. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. James M. Mercure)

Photo by Cpl. James M. Mercure

Marines assault Taliban stronghold

9 Sep 2008 | Cpl. James M. Mercure

U.S. Marines along with coalition forces carried out an assault on a Taliban-held compound in Now Zad, Afghanistan, Aug. 28.

The accomplishments of the assault, was the seizure of enemy ordnance and weapons, materials used to make IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and the destruction of several enemy vehicles, buildings and fighting positions.

The Marines and sailors of Company F, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and coalition forces are exploiting the enemy any way they can.

“Our overall mission here is to degrade the enemies’ ability to operate in Now Zad,” said Capt. Ross Schellhaas, Company F commander and Meridian, Idaho native. “During this assault, we pushed far beyond our objective.  We found and took several of the enemies’ weapons, which takes away their ability to use them against us.” 

“Whenever we get to an assault position, we’re already receiving fire and the Marines go right to the sound of the guns – no hesitation,” Capt. Schellhaas explained.

During the assault, Company F Marines had the additional support of the task force’s Combined Anti-Armor Team, which supported the operation with additional heavy firepower. 

“Our main goal was to help Company F clear their objective by killing as many enemy fighters as possible,” said Maj. Urbano Cruz, Weapons Company commander and Palm Beach, Fla., native. “The thing that CAAT brings to the fight is a sizable force. We’re the big guns of the battalion, and the Taliban see that and think twice before attacking.”

To combat the IED threat, TF 2/7’s Combat Engineer Platoon are called forward and breach the enemy’s walls with explosives so the Fox Company Marines can move forward to their objective.

“We can always get the Marines through the door, or through the wall,” said Sgt. David J. Lang, a combat engineer squad leader and Port Orchard, Wash., native. “The infantry guys will always have a way in or a way out with us around.”

“In the few months we’ve been out here, the combat engineers have found approximately 120 possible IEDs while out on missions,” Lang said.

Company F Marines and sailors are relentless in their pursuit of ridding the area of its threatening Taliban presence. As TF 27 continues to conduct counterinsurgency operations throughout the Helmand and Farah provinces, Company F is certainly making a name for itself by dominating the enemy with superior firepower and maneuver. 

“After months of sustained combat, it’s a testament to the Marines’ strength, endurance and character that they keep doing the little things right,” said 1st Lt. Arthur E. Karell, 3rd Platoon commander and Arlington, Va., native.