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3/4 assaultmen open doors in Fallujah

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 2005217597
Story by Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Feb. 15, 2005) -- Patrols conducted by 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, have run into a large number of locked doors since the return of Iraqi civilians to the city of Fallujah. This has become a problem for patrols attempting to find weapons still hidden within the city.

The favorite option for any patrol coming upon a locked door is to knock and have the owner let the patrol inside, but in some cases, the only option is forced entry.

“Demolition is always our last resort,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremiah A. Harriman, 23, an assaultman for Company I, “We look for them to be home during a search.”

The removal of these locks to search a home is necessary in maintaining the safety of Marines and citizens inside of Fallujah, said Harriman, a native of Scipio, Ind.

“People are still coming back and planting weapons and explosives inside buildings here,” said Sgt. Tobin M. Quadros, 25, a squad leader for Co I.

During patrols through the city, 3/4's Marines have found rocket propelled grenades, assault rifles, ammunition and mortar sights inside of recently locked buildings, according to Quadros, a native of Richmond, Calif.

To force their way into a locked building, assaultmen for 3/4 use shotguns, detonation cord and C-4 plastic explosives to breach the locks on doors and gates in the city.

Despite the destructive nature of the tools used to overcome these obstacles, minimal damage is done to the homes and businesses in the city.

“Demolition is incredibly effective and you can be very precise with it,” Harriman said.

Shotguns are used to remove small padlocks from gates and doors, while small amounts of C-4 and detonation cord are used for larger locks.

The skill and professionalism of the assaultmen in 3/4 allow most buildings to be breached with no damage to the structure, and little damage to the door itself, Quadros said.

“Most times, the only thing damaged is the lock itself,” Harriman said, “We can even open one door (in a set of double doors) without affecting the other.”

The frequency of locked doors has decreased in recent weeks, leaving patrols to search homes with the cooperation of residents and to focus their efforts on targeted buildings.

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