NEAR KARMAH, Iraq --
Using the term “Motivating Marine Corps day” in the morning is usually an indicator of sarcastic optimism throughout the ranks. Generally speaking, “motivating” can mean tired, frustrated and dirty. Rarely is the term prophetic.
Today, however, what began as a standard counterinsurgency patrol in Al Anbar Province turned into a truly motivating day as Marines from Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines uprooted several large weapons caches, Homemade Explosives (HME) and a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device factory.
Canvassing the remote desert region near Combat Outpost Chicago, Weapons Platoon Marines swept several routes and fields before a local citizen tipped them off and pointed them toward suspicious sites in the area.
Conducting a search based on this lead, Marines discovered numerous weapons, including a mortar tube, hundreds of automatic weapons rounds (of varying caliber and munitions type), a Simonov SKS rifle and American-made flares.
The citizen then escorted Marines to two buried containers, both filled to the brim with enemy “accelerants,” including a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) launcher with several rounds and boosters, a 14.5mm anti-aircraft weapon with seven receivers, grenades, mortars, rifle magazines, primers and IED trigger mechanisms.
Continuing the search in close proximity to the buried containers, a house, identified as a car bomb factory, contained evidence of a massive HME-mixing operation, including tarps, several pair of rubber boots and a children’s swimming pool (used as a mixing vat).
Personnel from Combat Logistics Battalion 13’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal section destroyed the caches after site exploitation was complete.
Successful days like today are becoming surprisingly routine. As BLT 3/1 continues counterinsurgency operations here, willing locals are frequently offering up information on insurgent activity and weapons cache sites. The constant accomplishment is causing some Marines to make confident, early morning predictions of success.
“I woke up this morning, and I just knew it was going to be a ‘motivating Marine Corps day,’” said Lance Cpl. Randy Cantrall, a native of Peoria, Ariz. “And it was. It was beautiful.”
For more information about Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, or the warriors of the Fighting 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, visit the unit’s Web site athttp://ww.usmc.mil/13thmeu.