View Full Version : 1/5 Marines, ISF continue presence in Ramadi

12-10-05, 06:02 AM
1/5 Marines, ISF continue presence in Ramadi
2nd Marine Division Identification #: 2005121063829
Story by Cpl. Tom Sloan

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Dec. 10, 2005) -- Uniforms and languages separate Marines from Iraqi Security Forces. Intentions unite them.

Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and ISF service members share a goal – ridding this city of terrorism and restoring its infrastructure.

Marines with Company C’s 1st Platoon and 15 ISF soldiers embarked on a mid-day mission together May 19 in an effort to get closer to accomplishing this task.

The warriors conducted a five-hour foot patrol through several neighborhoods where two mosques are located. The area is known for insurgent activities, according to 1st Platoon’s commander, 1st Lt. Juan R. Plascencia.

“We’ve had bad experiences in this area, said the 29-year-old leader from Baldwin Park, Calif. “We were out here last week and got hit by an IED (improvised explosive device). This place always has IEDs. We basically count on hitting one every time we come through here.”

No one was injured by the blast, said the 2003 San Diego State University graduate.

“We’ve spoken to the sheik there, and he’s told us he’s completely in control of his area and is keeping insurgents out,” said Plascencia. “However, we continue to get hit by IEDs, which makes that hard for me to believe. Insurgents are continuing to plant IEDs in front of his mosques.”

Along with IED attacks, Plascencia said Company C Marines have been shot at.

“An Iraqi man engaged 2nd Platoon with an (AK-47) during a patrol here,” he said. “The guy was on a roof.”

Insurgent propaganda was discovered posted on walls, , he added.

“Our (intelligence analysts) said it was a call for the people to take up arms against coalition forces,” he said.

The Marines and their Iraqi counterparts sweated in temperatures of more than 100 degrees as they hunted for members of the terrorist network and fighters from other Middle Eastern countries.

“It seems to be the talk of the town that people from Syria and Jordan are coming here to fight us,” he said.

Corporal Clint J. Hurda, squad leader for 2nd Squad, 1st Platoon, lead his Marines and seven ISF members during the mission. They searched several homes, and questioned residents and people in the streets if they knew members of the insurgency.

The 27-year-old from Mineral Point, Wis., was happy to have the ISF along.

“They’re helping break the language barrier,” said the 1996 Mineral Point High School graduate. “They’re making the questioning process go much quicker, which enables us to search more houses and question more people.”

Hurda left tip line flyers– flyers with a number to call and report insurgent activity – with the people they questioned.

“A lot of times they are too afraid to tells us if insurgents are working in their neighborhood,” he explained. “The tip line is good because they can use it to call us later on when they muster up the courage.”

During the patrol, 2nd Squad came upon an area that sparked a bad memory among some Marines.

“We were going through here on a (foot) patrol a few weeks ago and our platoon sergeant got blown up by an IED,” recalled Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Mata, a squad automatic machine gunner with 2nd Squad as he observed the open area and shook his head. “It went off right in front of him, and he was thrown almost 15 feet.”

Staff Sgt. Chad A. Hill wasn’t injured, though.

“He was rattled and a bit dizzy, but that was all,” said the 20-year-old from Tulia, Texas.

The 2002 Tulia High School graduate said, “Just the shock wave from the blast is all that hit him.”

The incident stuck in Mata’s and his fellow Marines’ minds.

“We’re more aware of what can happen out here now,” he said.

Toward the end of the mission, Hurda employed his ISF attachments to conduct a “Snap VCP” – a surprise vehicle checkpoint – on a street they were patrolling.

The ISF stopped and searched five vehicles passing through while the Marines supervised. They also searched the drives and passengers of each vehicle. Nothing threatening turned up.

“We often conduct Snap VCPs during patrols,” Hurda said. “The ISF did well. They’re very professional in the way they conducted their business today. They know what they’re doing.”

The mission ended with the Marines and ISF drenched in sweat. No shots were fired, no IEDs detonated and no one suspicious was found.

“I don’t know if everyone we talked to told the truth,” said Hurda. “According to them, their neighborhoods are insurgent free.”

Hurda still deemed the mission a success, though.

“No one was hurt, and it’s always a successful patrol when we bring everyone home unharmed.”