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Roughriders Nab Latifiyah IED Maker Cell

Latifiyah, Iraq
-- Continuing operations in the Latifiyah area of north Babil, the 3rd Platoon Roughriders of Company A, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, conducted a search in a farming village on Jan. 16 and discovered an improvised explosive device manufacturing cell.

The find contributes to Task Force 2-12 Cavalry's four-week streak of finding weapons caches and detaining anti-Iraqi forces in this previously unpatrolled area along the Euphrates River. So far the Roughriders platoon has contributed to the streak by finding more than nine significant weapons caches and detaining dozens of suspects during continuous operations in the area that started when the task force arrived in late December.

"We've been going and hitting different locations with the intent of just looking around and seeing if we uncover anything," said Sgt. 1st Class Freddie Bonetti, a Roughriders squad leader from Brady, Texas. "We keep [the insurgents] guessing about what we're going to do next. We don't know if we're going to get a hit when we go out, but it's always a possibility. "Sometimes we'll get lucky and where we don't think there's anything, wham, suddenly we come right on top of something."

Taking down a cell of IED makers might have been a lucky find, but the Roughriders used their infantry skills to make it happen. They rolled up in Bradley Fighting Vehicles under the cover of darkness, and taking the neighborhood by surprise, sealed it from escape. Being infantry, they're always prepared for anything, said Sgt. Steven Mabry, a Roughriders team leader from Mohanas, Texas.

"We don't know what to expect going into each house," Mabry said. "Each house is a different [obstacle]. Most of them are built the same, but as you go in you don't know whose hiding where."

Going into the house where the IED makers were located, Mabry and his team noticed something strange.

"I could tell by the two guys that were standing outside. They didn't seem right," Mabry said. "You could tell by just looking at them when we first came in.

"Most of the time they already know the routine. We walk in and all the males will come out. They didn't really seem like they wanted to do the routine, so we made sure that we kept those [men] separated. There was something fishy about them."

The team's next tip came when an elderly man in the village pointed the men out as bad guys. The Roughriders don't see that kind of thing every day, Bonetti said.

"[There was an] old man pointing and screaming 'ali babba.' That usually doesn't happen, especially if these are big league bad guys," Bonetti said. "For an old man to do that, it shows a lot of courage."

When the names of these men were checked against a list of known anti-Iraqi forces by an interpreter, a close match was found. With the help of their interpreter, the Roughriders made a positive identification of the men, and took another IED maker off the streets of Iraq.

"My platoon has been very good at following up on leads with the interpreter," said 1st Lt. Ramiro Roldan, the Roughriders platoon leader from San Antonio, Texas. "They've been very successful. Usually every time they get somebody it's one of the bad guys." (By Spc. Andy Miller, 122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)


Release #050120h

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