Photo Information

Two Marines from Weapons Platoon, India Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, cautiously inspect an artillery shell found while on a routine patrol in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq, June 27, 2007. The 13th MEU is deployed with Multi National Forces-West in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Al Anbar province of Iraq to develop Iraqi Security Forces, facilitate the development of official rule through democratic reforms, and continue the development of a market based economy centered on Iraqi reconstruction.

Photo by Corporal Kyle J Keathley

13th MEU finds more than 17 metric tons of explosives

4 Jul 2007 | Story By Capt. Pamela K. Marshall. Photo By Cpl. Kyle J. Keathley

NEAR KARMAH, Iraq (July 4, 2007) – Marines from Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, discovered more than 17,000 kilograms of explosives in a series of weapons cache finds northeast of Thar Thar Dam July 4-6.

A homemade explosives factory and nearby weapons cache discovered July 6 by Weapons Company, BLT 3/1, contained more than 6,000 kilograms of homemade explosives, 8,000 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, a common HME component, and the equipment to mix, manufacture and transport large quantities of the explosives.

Company I Marines found three separate weapons caches July 5 north of Karmah containing the following:

- nearly 10,000 kilograms of ammonium nitrate

- 200 jugs of nitric acid, each approximately 30 kilograms

- 125 kilograms of homemade explosives

- 3,500 kilograms of fertilizer

- 250 kilograms of chlorine

On July 4, Marines from Weapons Company discovered a cache east of Lake Thar Thar that contained 4.5 kilograms of homemade explosives, (12) 155mm projectiles, (8) 120mm mortars, (4,700) 14.5mm rounds, (752) 25mm rounds and an assortment of other weapons and ammunition.           

The cache containing the nitric acid, homemade explosives and chlorine was destroyed by an F/A-18 Hornet air strike. All remaining caches were destroyed by Combat Logistics Battalion 13 Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams.

Current operations are underway in an effort to disrupt enemy activities and locate such weapons caches north of Fallujah and Karmah, an area in which Coalition Forces have not frequently operated.

Headquartered at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, the California-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force began operations June 15 as part of the troop surge in support of Operation Phantom Thunder.


13th Marine Expeditionary Unit