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First of the Fighting Fifth strives to impede insurgents' activities

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 2005515235948
Story by Cpl. Tom Sloan

AR RAMADI, Iraq (May 13, 2005) -- First Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment is working to make it harder for the insurgency to carryout fiendish deeds by keeping a constant presence throughout the city here.

The infantry battalion – in Iraq for a third time supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom – is accomplishing this mission of disrupting enemy operations by sending its combat-savvy infantry companies on patrols around the clock everyday, according to 1st Lt. Neil P. Clinton, the platoon commander for Company B’s 2nd Platoon.

“It’s the belief of the command (1st Battalion, 5th Marines) that we will put a strangle hold on the insurgency by saturating the area with patrols,” explained the 27-year-old from Swampscott, Mass. “We want to make it uncomfortable for them to move so that their activities will be hampered.”

His Marines with 2nd Platoon recently conducted a presence patrol through a portion of the city in an effort to accomplish what he said “is their unit’s overlying mission.”

According to Clinton, the residential and market areas his platoon patrolled this day are notorious for insurgent activity. “These places have a history of being (concentrated) with triggermen and snipers.” He explained that “triggermen” is who Marines and coalition forces have labeled insurgents who detonate improvised explosive devices with cellular phones and other hand-held electronic devices.

The Marines moved about their area of operations for close to three hours sweating in temperatures of up to 90 degrees.

Sergeant Patrick M. Hakola, the squad leader for 2nd Squad, had his Marines “observing unusual activity on rooftops and in windows” as he led them throughout the operation.

The 25-year-old from Conneaut, Ohio, said he’s always confident taking to the urban battlefield with his warriors because they’re proficient in their infantry skills.

“These guys are constantly aware of their surroundings,” the 1997 Conneaut High School graduate said as he took a knee and pulled a map from his cargo pocket to check his squad’s location. “They’ve got their heads on swivels.”

Hakol said his squad members have good initiative, too.

“All I have to do is mention something that needs doing to my team leaders, and they make sure it gets done,” he said proudly.

Lance Cpl. Aaron R. Martinez is one of those team leaders.

A testament to 21-year-old assault man’s abilities came midway through the mission. Second Platoon took sporadic machinegun fire from insurgents while executing a tactical march along a main road.

Martinez, a native of Lubbock, Texas, quickly employed his fire team to the nearest building and had them set up a position from which they provided security for the other Marines.

“Security for the other Marines is very important,” said the 2001 Robertson High School graduate, who’s a veteran of the fighting that took place in Fallujah during OIF last year.

Martinez’s fire team remained in their position for several minutes scanning the area for the machinegun fire’s origin while their fellow Marines sought cover.

No more shots were fired and Martinez gave the order to “break down” the position. His fire team linked back up with Hakola and they continued their patrol.

Martinez said his Marines moved with good speed and intensity when they received fire.

“We pulled our weight well,” he said. “Second Squad is squared-away and we’re quick to get the job done.”

Marines with 2nd Platoon finished their patrol without receiving anymore contact. They made it to their rally point, were extracted out of the area by a convoy of up-armored humvees and returned safely to their base, Camp Ramadi.

“The patrol went well,” said Martinez. “Everyone made it back safe, and we accomplished our mission of making our presence felt in the city.”

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