NEAR KARMAH, Iraq --
NEAR KARMAH, Iraq (June 25, 2007) – Marines from Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines recently began Operation China Shop, a large-scale sweep in Northern Al Anbar Province designed to disrupt insurgent networks operating in the area. Elements from the battalion, including a Light Armored Reconnaissance platoon and Marines from Weapons Company, participated in the operation.
The first day turned up two large vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (car bombs) under construction in a factory, along with a handful of explosive devices already placed on roadways within the area of operations. Three large weapons caches were discovered the following morning.
The first cache reportedly contained more than 121 IEDs, more than half of which were already armed. The devices included “speed bump” IEDs, often placed on or buried in roads.
The second find was the largest of the three. A house search uncovered a room containing a high-explosive stack nearly three feet high. Battalion personnel estimate the material could have been used to construct more than 80 large IEDs. An F-18 Hornet dropped a GBU-12 (500-pound) bomb on the house, uncovering more materials which are currently being handled by Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians from Combat Logistics Battalion 13.
The third cache was discovered in a house pointed out by interpreters since a bus, reported stolen, was parked outside. In the house, Marines discovered various small arms munitions, a rocket-propelled grenade, 10 pressure-plate IEDs and other bomb making material.
Lieutenant Col. Phillip W. Chandler, battalion commander, described the day’s finds as “exceptional.”
“We came here to take the accelerants away from the enemy, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said, “Each one of those devices was meant to kill a Marine or a Soldier.”
Operation China Shop is part of ongoing operations in Al Anbar Province designed to sever insurgent supply routes and safe houses. Battalion Landing Team 3/1, the ground combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, will continue operations in support of Multi National Force – West.
“It was a big day,” said Chandler, “and I’m extremely proud of the boys out there.”