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Four Hours in Fallujah can be exhuasting

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200534151511
Story by Sgt. Robert E. Jones Sr.

FALLUJAH, Iraq (March 4, 2005) -- Spending only four hours with Regimental Combat Team 1 can prove to be exhausting but eventful. Just ask Sgt. Michael S. Smith, a section leader for RCT-1's personal security detachment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

On days like the March 3 trip into Fallujah, the surprises kept coming, according to Smith, an Amarillo, Texas native. Smith assisted leading the PSD to a combat promotion, a briefing at the Civil Military Operations Center, greeting citizens of Fallujah, detaining a high interest target and the best surprise of the afternoon: the site where one of the largest weapons cache found to date which was located by L Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. An Iraqi citizen alerted the unit. "Finding the weapons cache helped move pieces on the battlefield successfully, rebuilding Fallujah" said Smith.

On site to congratulate his 1st Marine Division Marines and Sailors was Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonksi, commanding general, 1st Marine Division. Also on hand were Col. Michael Shupp, commanding officer of RCT-1 and Sgt. Maj. Eduardo Leardo, RCT-1's sergeant major.

The discovery included:
(4,266) 14.5 rounds
(229) 155mm rounds
(389) USSR S-5KP air-to-surface 57mm rockets
(403) USSR S-5M air-to-surface 57mm rockets
(60) 80mm rocket motors
(176) 82mm mortar rounds
(5) RPG rounds
(3) 120mm base plates
(1) 120mm mortar tube
(4) USSR 81mm rockets
(1,728) 20mm rounds
(2) 60mm mortar rounds
(34) 80mm rockets
(15) Recoilless rifle propellants
(234) Chinese M-6 fuses
(106) 120mm mortar rounds
(16) SA-7 missiles

The seizure and subsequent destruction of the weapons cache reduces anti-Iraqi forces' ability to launch attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces and Iraqi citizens.

Shupp is asked by many to describe Fallujah. Finding the weapons cache and meeting with its citizens in the city was optimistic, according to Shupp. "It was a huge step forward for the fight for freedom,” said Shupp.

"Fallujah's coming to life. They know we're here to provide them opportunities, give them freedoms, and assist the Iraqi people. Freedom starts here and this is just the beginning."


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