1/5's Alpha visits Ramadi hotspot
Marine Corps News
Story Identification #: 200541793256
Story by Cpl. Tom Sloan
AR RAMADI, Iraq (April 14, 2005) -- Marines with 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, were engaged by insurgents while conducting a combat patrol in the southern part of the city here.
“We were sitting in the a blocking position on the road, and a black car kept driving back and forth on the street in front of us,” recalled Sgt. Jacob W. Fox, a 24-year-old motor transportation operator with 2nd Platoon. “He slammed on the breaks and stopped about three hundred meters away, fired and took off.”
According to the Omaha, Neb., native who was driving the 7-ton, the shooter targeted and fired only one round before the vehicle fled the scene.
“It made me mad because we didn’t have time to engage back.”
The Marines weren’t surprised when they took fire from the insurgent. Making contact was the primary focus for this particular patrol.
“We’re looking for a fight, and there’s a good chance we’ll get in one down here,” said Cpl. Matt I. Bremer, the squad leader for 2nd Squad, while posting security on a street corner. “We’ve had contact down here before. One of our guys was shot in the arm during a patrol through here recently.”
The 22-year-old from Winston Salem, N.C., said that insurgents are actively engaging coalition forces in the sparsely populated southern part of the city.
“It’s not like the marketplace where there are lots of women and children walking around,” explained the 2001 East Forsyth High School graduate.
The marketplace is in Company A’s area of operations, and patrols there have been relatively uneventful with the exception of a few improvised explosive device detonations.
Bremer led his Marines on a fast-paced aggressive patrol through the trash-filled streets in search of insurgents.
“The patrols are fast,” said Bremer, who’s on his third deployment to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. “We run a lot of the time because moving constantly keeps us from getting hit and makes a hard target. When we stop and stay in one place for a while, that’s when we run the risk of getting shot.”
The discovery of a potential IED on the side of a road was the only thing that slowed the patrol. They left the street and took to the nearest building, which was an Iraqi family’s home, suitable for setting up an over watch. From the building’s rooftop, they provided security for fellow Marines of 2nd Platoon as they checked out the threat.
"It looks like just a pile of rocks, but it’s worth the time and sweat to verify it and destroy it if it is an IED,” explained Bremer as he tipped his Kevlar helmet back and wiped his forehead. “IEDs are a big problem in Ramadi. They hurt a lot of people. My vehicle was just hit by one yesterday. The more we find and destroy, the less damage they can do to convoys driving around out here.”
Bremer and the rest of the squad remained in the house and on it’s rooftop for half an hour. The residents of the home received their weapon-wielding guests with smiling faces and rendered them thumbs-up greetings. One young, Iraqi boy gave Bremer a high-five in exchange for some candy.
After receiving word that the potential IED wasn’t a threat and they were a go to continue their patrol, they left the safety of the building and hit the streets.
Second squad and the remainder of 2nd Platoon finished out the rest of their patrol without incident and returned to their base at Camp Hurricane Point.
“I thought we would’ve seen a lot more action than what we did today,” said Sgt. Fidel A. Alcoces, 2nd Platoon’s platoon sergeant. “We’ve taken lots of fire in that area before. We’ve had RPGs shot at us there, too.”
The 29-year-old San Antonio, Texas native explained his platoon is taking a different approach in conducting their missions due to recent events.
“We’re now in the offensive after we had two Marines go down,” he said. “We’re still watching all our rules of engagement, but if we feel threatened, we will engage.”
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