AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Marines are fighting off insurgent attacks everyday at the Government Center. The attacks are an attempt to disrupt the governance of Al Anbar at its focal point in the provincial capital.
Despite the relentless activity the provincial government continues to function because the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment work day and night to ensure the attacks do not interrupt the progress being made by the Governor and his staff.
During a complex enemy attack on April 15, Kilo Company Marines received a high volume of medium machinegun, small arms and mortar fire from multiple directions. The Marines overwhelmed their attackers using combined superior and accurate fire power, including close air support as a final blow. The engagement lasted two hours and resulted in no friendly casualties or damage to equipment, bit its estimated 30 insurgents were killed in action.
After repelling the late-afternoon complex attack on the Government Center, the Marines quickly patrolled the streets to disrupt further insurgent activity in the area.
On the day after the attack, Marines from 3rd Platoon, K Company, conducted a search on a building used by insurgents to launch attacks on the Government Center.
“The search was basically for BDA (Battle Damage Assessment),” said Sgt. John T. Strobridge, a 21-year-old squad leader from Orlando, Fla. “We took a lot of contact from that building. … So we went in there because we wanted to see what was going on.”
Marines inside armored trucks set up security for other members of 3rd Platoon as they made their way inside the building.
A loud shotgun blast echoed inside the building as Marines breached through their first pad locked door. The Marines quickly entered through the door into a long corridor and began clearing the left and right side of the hallway.
“It’s pretty nerve-racking once you’re inside,” said Lance Cpl. Alex J. Reyes, a 21-year-old teamleader from Bronx, N.Y. “But once you’re there you don’t think about it, you just do your job.”
Once cleared, the Marines thoroughly searched the building and found hard evidence of insurgent activity.
“We found IED (improvised explosive device) making material and brass casings,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremy J. Jenkins, a 18-year-old machine gunner from Beaufort, S.C.
“We found a couple of firing positions aimed at the building that could hit our posts,” added Strobridge.
Marines with K Company feel that they are operating in one of the most dangerous places in Iraq, but their efforts are helping breakdown the insurgency in the area.
“We have had quite a few engagements with the enemy,” said Strobridge as he wiped sweat from his glasses after the patrol. “It’s a rough job and a tough place but we’re definitely taking it to the insurgents.”
Lance Cpl. Roger R. Turcotte, 21, an infantryman from Dracut, Mass., knows that Ramadi is a hectic place but he is proud to operate along side his Marines.
“It’s a rush being here,” said Turcotte, “we’re definitely staying busy.”
The two-day siege was a test of vigilance and capability for the Marines 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, but they stood their ground ensuring business continues to operate as usual at the Government Center, located at the heart of Ramadi, in the capital of Al Anbar.