BLT 2/1 executes opening phases of Operation Iron Hammer

2 Dec 2005 | Cpl. Andy Hurt

Marines and Sailors from Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, recently completed the assault phase of Operation Iron Hammer in the city of Hit, Iraq.Phase two was conducted over approximately three days, and comprised of battalion elements sweeping portions of the Euphrates River Valley in search of insurgent activity, weapons caches, improvised explosive devices and other information or materials of intelligence value.The operation was conducted less than 10 days after BLT 2/1, the ground combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), pulled assets from Operation Steel Curtain and turned over area command in Ubayti, Iraq, to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.Operation Iron Hammer was initiated Nov. 28, when the Engineers detachment from MEU Service Support Group 13 moved from Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, to Hit in order to establish a battalion firm base for the duration of the operation. Next, the battalion’s four companies and reinforcements, including tanks, light armored vehicles and artillery assets, moved into the town and swept the dense oasis and adjacent village north of Hit.While ‘Echo’ Company Marines set up a blocking position in the area of operation, Co. F raided the housing areas and Co. G swept palm and orange groves along the Euphrates River.The sweeps executed by Co. G brought on a barrage of Vietnam metaphors, and rounded the company into a spirit of tradition in the midst of combat operations.The major threats during the operation were IED positions. To counter the IEDs, usually constructed from artillery shells or anti-personnel mines, the battalion called on combat engineer attachments from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion. The engineers utilized heavy line charges along roads leading into town and across the river, spawning 16 secondary explosions and eliminating the threat for Marines in the area. The sweep took nearly three full days due to the heavy forest and dense foliage slowing movement and making weapon and personnel searches more time consuming than the recent urban operations.Upon completion of the assault, battalion elements established firm bases in order to prepare for upcoming elections. For more information about the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or Battalion Landing Team 2/1, visit www.usmc.mil/13thmeu.
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit