1st Marine Division


1st Marine Division

1st Marine Division

Camp Pendleton, CA
‘Excalibur’ owns the night

By Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson | | June 20, 2008

RUTBAH, Iraq -- The Marines with Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, own the night.

The battery, known as “Excalibur,” entered the town at night and searched a house here for a weapons cache to ensure the safety of the people and to defeat the insurgency.

“This operation was to stop a guy from selling weapons to harm us or the people of Rutbah,” said Pfc. Misael Gutierrez, a radio operator with Mike Battery. “We’re here to save lives.”

Mike Battery is a reserve artillery unit attached to 2nd LAR Bn. as a provisional infantry element in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Marines are currently mobilized in the city of Rutbah to protect the city, the people and assist the Iraqi Police.

“Assisting the Iraqi Police is our main objective out here, but if someone says they have a weapon and are going to sell it, it becomes our business,” said Staff Sgt. Adem V. Bonnilla, logistics staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Mike Battery. “We’re to help the people.”

After the Marines searched the house and detained the suspects, they traveled to the suspected cache area and searched the area. The battery was able to collect enough evidence to hold the suspects for questioning.

“It’s fortunate how much this place has changed, it makes me feel that I’m really here for a reason,” said Gutierrez, 19, from Smyrna, Tenn. “It’s almost at a point to where you could walk down the street and asks for an ice cream without worrying about being shot at.”

Although the city of Rutbah has become safer, the insurgency is still out there and the Marines with the Chattanooga, Tenn., based unit will be there to there to find them.

“I’m really motivated to be here and protect the people,” said Cpl. Steven M. Barrientos, 25, a radio operator from Bethlehem, Pa., with Mike Battery. “I can see the changes in the lives of the people because of our actions fighting the insurgency.”