AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Marines from Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, carried out a 28-hour operation April 26, setting up observation posts and conducting combat patrols in an area of the city not heavily traveled by Coalition Forces.
The operation prevented insurgents from freely moving throughout the city and disrupted enemy attacks against Coalition Forces and Iraqi infrastructure.
“This operation proved our mobility and ability to travel throughout the city,” said Capt. Brian M. Harvey, the commanding officer for Company I, 3rd Bn., 8th Marines. “We disrupted (the insurgents) ability to move around unhindered and increased our situational awareness of the battle space.”
The Marines convoyed to the southern region of the city from Camp Blue Diamond. They secured their base of operations and began patrolling the streets.
While patrolling the streets, the Iraqi people were welcoming to the Marines. Several families offered their homes to the Marines as a rest area for the night.
“The people know we are here to help,” said Lance Cpl. Steven T. Giannetto, a team leader and infantryman from 3rd Platoon, Company I.
An underlying objective of the mission was to gauge how the people and community received the Marines.
Not everyone was friendly, however. The Marines were attacked several times with rocket-propelled grenades, medium machinegun fire, and small arms fire.
“We didn’t know what to expect in that area,” said Nathan R. Beauchemen, a squad-automatic weapon gunner with 3rd Platoon, Company I. “We had sniper fire and improvised explosive devices going off all around us.”
During the patrol, the Marines reported seeing muzzle flashes from a house nearby. To prevent injury to unseen bystanders, the Marines did not return fire and instead sent out a foot patrol, which resulted in the arrest of three suspected insurgents.
The Marines confirmed the detainees were possible insurgents by testing them with an explosive residue kit. The test identifies if someone has recently handled explosives. All three suspects tested positive, resulting in their detention and the possibility of gaining actionable intelligence.
“This is solid evidence,” said Giannetto, a 25-year-old from Rochester, N.Y. “We know who we are detaining, and it’s definitely the bad guys.”
Weapons Company and combat engineers also provided security and support for the Marines on the ground during the operation.
“What led us to succeed,” said Harvey, a 34-year-old from Chattanooga, Tenn., “was the small unit leadership that conducted the patrols, the ability of platoon commanders to make decisions on the deck, and the coordination between the external agencies. All this gave us the freedom to move throughout the battle space.”