Marines locate grisly reminder of Hussein's regime

5 May 2003 | Sgt. L. A. Salinas

Decaying human bones and tattered clothes littered a dirt pit that was once used as a trash dump near the town of Al-Hillah.

Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, found the site but are quick to point out that its existence was no secret.

"It has been there since 1991," said an intelligence specialist staff sergeant with 1/4. "This site was not a secret in this town, everybody knew where it was."

The gravesite served as a reminder of the horrible atrocities that occurred in the country of Iraq at the hands of its former dictator Saddam Hussein.

More than 50 bodies have been discovered at the site, with more remains expected to be found with further excavation.

"It appears that they had soldiers and if they where against the regime they and their families where buried," said the staff sergeant.

A local Iraqi who lives near the site is responsible for leading the Marines to the gravesite, said the intel Marine.

"It was not a secret, people had known about it," said the staff sergeant. "When we got there, people were already digging."

The intelligence staff sergeant gave a graphic description of what they found in the gravesite.

"When you go in there, you are going to see skeletal remains of women and children, women still holding their children," he said.

A local Iraqi woman, who was present at the gravesite, claimed that four of her children where among the skeletal remains.

According to the staff sergeant, once the excavation has been completed and remains have been identified, they will be returned over to their families.

Still, the site is a grim reminder of how the toppled regime treated its citizens and some describe what Saddam might of thought.

"You mess with the regime, you are going to die and I (Saddam) am going to dump you in the trash," said the staff sergeant.