Combat Engineers find, destroy enemy weapons.

Submitted by:2nd Marine Division

Story Identification #:20059621820

Story by Cpl. Tom Sloan

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AR RAMADI, Iraq (Sept 5, 2005) --

Marines with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, supporting 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, uncovered several large weapons caches buried in fields on the southern outskirts of the Al Anbar capital here during an anti-insurgent operation Aug. 15.

According to the Marines tally, they discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing.

We saved Marines lives today because we found enemy rounds and explosives, said platoon commander 1st Lt. Douglas R. Orr. The explosives would likely have been used by insurgents to make IEDs (improvised explosive devices), so this was a good find today.

The Marines made the significant discovery while supporting 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Operation Bullard II, which was carried out in and around a small community on the edge of Ramadi.

The infantry battalion conducted the operation in an effort to rid the city of insurgents and weapons,bexplained 23-year-old Orr from Ridgefield, Conn. The mission was a chance for the battalion to get into an area thats known to have a lot of insurgent activity.

The undertaking kicked off at 4 a.m. and involved multiple elements of the infantry battalion. Infantrymen with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines searched scores of houses, vehicles and personnel.

Our platoon was tasked with sweeping several acres of nearby farmland for enemy weapons.

Armed with shovels, metal detectors and a keen knowledge of their job, the Marines worked in teams of two and combed the search area. After two hours of trudging through the loose soil, the Marines started uncovering caches.

Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Jordan, a combat engineer, is credited with discovering the largest amount of munitions. The 20-year-old from Hubert, N.C., found four .50 caliber machine gun barrels and more than 2000 rounds of ammunition buried in a field.

Well, Jordan  said after making the large find, I can say I found the most rounds.

Jordan said he knew he had stumbled upon something big when he passed over the cache spot. The shape patterns from his metal detector indicated the size of what was buried, he said.

We found out just how big a cache it was when we started digging down,  Jordan said. LLance Cpl. Matthew F. Tripp, Jordanas partner, dug up the cache with help from other combat engineers.

We just kept pulling rounds out of the ground, said the 21-year-old from Fort Myers, Fla. There were so many, and I needed help getting them all. It seemed like there was a never-ending supply buried.

Similar episodes unfolded for the Marines at other locations in the fields. The Marines discovered and dug up six caches after four hours of hunting. Each cache was buried approximately two feet down.

The finds did'nt surprise the Marines.

Ive been out here before and found large amounts of rounds and explosives, said Orr. We knew wed probably find more today, and we did.

The Marines inventoried the munitions they found and consolidated them all in one mass cache. They rigged the cache with plastic explosives and destroyed it with a controlled detonation.

The spectacular explosion could be seen and heard from miles away. The plume of smoke rose several hundred feet in the air and formed a mushroom cloud. Orr reflected on the morning events.

I Its good that we found and destroyed the caches, he said,  but we still need to find the source. We need to find and stop the insurgents whore doing this.

Marines with Company C did capture 14 insurgents during the undertaking. Three of the men the infantrymen detained while searching houses, according to officials with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, were high value targets. One was believed to be an intelligence source for the insurgency, officials said.

The more weapons we find and insurgents we capture, Orr said, the less attacks on Marines and the safer the city becomes.

-30-

Photos included with story:

 Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Jordan, a combat engineer with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct 

              support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, stands by with his metal detector in hand while his partner, Lance Cpl. Matthew F. Tripp, 

              digs for weapons buried in a field on the outskirts of the city here during an early-morning mission Aug. 15. Jordan, Tripp and other 

              combat engineers uncovered several large weapons caches while supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines carried 

              out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile Ramadi 

              in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes 

              ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm 

              rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. Infantrymen with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and captured 14 insurgents.  

              Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Jordan, a combat engineer with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, stands by with his metal detector in hand while his partner, Lance Cpl. Matthew F. Tripp, digs for weapons buried in a field on the outskirts of the city here during an early-morning mission Aug. 15. Jordan, Tripp and other combat engineers uncovered several large weapons caches while supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines carried out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile Ramadi in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. Infantrymen with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and captured 14 insurgents. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan
 

 
 Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Jordan, a combat engineer with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct 

              support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, stands by with his metal detector in hand while his partner, Lance Cpl. Matthew F. Tripp, 

              digs for weapons buried in a field on the outskirts of the city here during an early-morning mission Aug. 15. Jordan, Tripp and other 

              combat engineers uncovered several large weapons caches while supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines carried 

              out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile Ramadi 

              in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes 

              ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm 

              rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. Infantrymen with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and captured 14 insurgents.  

              Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan LLance Cpl. Brandon C. Jordan, a combat engineer with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, stands by with his metal detector in hand while his partner, Lance Cpl. Matthew F. Tripp, digs for weapons buried in a field on the outskirts of the city here during an early-morning mission Aug. 15. Jordan, Tripp and other combat engineers uncovered several large weapons caches while supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines carried out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile Ramadi in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. Infantrymen with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and captured 14 insurgents. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan
 

 
 Marines with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine 

              Regiment, excavate .50 caliber machine gun rounds that they discovered buried in a field on the southern outskirts of the city here Aug. 

              15. This particular cache produced more than 2000 rounds of ammunition. The Marines uncovered several large weapons caches while 

              supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines carried out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted 

              until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile Ramadi in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat 

              engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine 

              gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. Infantrymen 

              with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and captured 14 insurgents. 

              Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan Marines with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, excavate .50 caliber machine gun rounds that they discovered buried in a field on the southern outskirts of the city here Aug. 15. This particular cache produced more than 2000 rounds of ammunition. The Marines uncovered several large weapons caches while supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines carried out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile Ramadi in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. Infantrymen with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and captured 14 insurgents. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan
 

 
 Gunnery Sgt. John Kelsch, platoon sergeant for 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support 

              of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, points to a spot on a large weapons caches where C-4 explosives needs to be placed during a mission 

              Aug. 15. Kelsch and other combat engineer conducted a weapons caches sweep through several acres of farmland located on the southern 

              outskirts of the city here and uncovered several large weapons caches while supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines 

              carried out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile 

              Ramadi in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells 

              in sizes ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 

              1000 7.62 mm rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. The engineer Marines consolidated the munitions into one large caches and destroyed 

              it with a controlled detonation set off by C-4 explosives. Infantrymen with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and 

              captured 14 insurgents. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan Gunnery Sgt. John Kelsch, platoon sergeant for 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, points to a spot on a large weapons caches where C-4 explosives needs to be placed during a mission Aug. 15. Kelsch and other combat engineer conducted a weapons caches sweep through several acres of farmland located on the southern outskirts of the city here and uncovered several large weapons caches while supporting Operation Bullard II. First Battalion, Fifth Marines carried out the operation, which started before daylight and lasted until midday, in and around a small community on the edge of volatile Ramadi in an effort to capture insurgents and weapons. Combat engineer Marines discovered a mortar tube, more than 200 artillery shells in sizes ranging from 60 mm to 155 mm, four .50 caliber machine gun barrels plus more than 2000 rounds of ammunition and approximately 1000 7.62 mm rounds, 600 of which were armor piercing. The engineer Marines consolidated the munitions into one large caches and destroyed it with a controlled detonation set off by C-4 explosives. Infantrymen with the battalion searched houses, vehicles and personnel and captured 14 insurgents. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan
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