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Kerry and Committment

New Marines Start Iraq Tour With Success

Marines escort a suspected terrorist to a vehicle for further questions after discovering weapons on his property during a battalion-sized raid on the town of As-Serifah, Iraq, July 1. Marine from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment recently to replace 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. (USMC photo by Sgt. Jose E. Guillen)

The following is a message from the Commander of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines ( is a "friend" of the Thundering Third):

Dear Friends and Family of the Thundering Third,

The "Thundering Third" leveraged some good intel and conducted a successful two company cordon and search on a cluster of houses that contained a family of suspected terrorists. As noted in the article below, we found large amounts of weapons, ordnance, and IED making materials. Among the many weapons were a mint condition silenced sterling 9mm submachine gun, a Dragonov Sniper Rifle in superb condition, and a US M240G medium machine gun, undoubtedly taken from a convoy struck by an IED. Some of the IED materials were very sophisticated - these were real killers with blood on their hands and they had assassin type weaponry in their inventory.

In the process of capturing some very bad people, we employed a helicopter and heavy machinegun HMMWVs to run down a car that just managed to leak through our cordon as we set it. This was a "French Connection" type chase through the Iraqi countryside and ended when the man abandoned his vehicle and ran through a field until chased down by 3/1 Infantry Marines.

We have a lot of work to do and some months to go, but are off to a good start. As you can imagine, I am very proud of our Marines and Sailors who have immediately set to work against the terrorists out here and are getting big results at the start of our deployment. Temps were around 111F and we were in flaks and helmets for 10 hours in the conduct of this mission.

The heat doesn't seem to be affecting our boys... I wish you all could've seen two reinforced companies of Marines aggressively take down this plantation area with Marine Air circling overhead. We put fear in the hearts of our enemies and took some off them off streets... more to follow.

God Bless and Semper Fi,
LtCol Willy Buhl
The Marines official site has more on this.
Battalion kicks off deployment with successful raid
Story by Sgt. Jose E. Guillen

FALLUJAH, Iraq(July 2, 2004) -- After arriving in Iraq only a week and a half ago, the "Thundering Third" has joined the fight of restoring security in Al Anbar Province, conducting a battalion-sized raid July 1.

Marines from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment cordoned As-Serifah, a village east of Kharma. The raid proved successful. Marines detained high-value targets and uncovered stores of weapons and improvised explosive devices.

The battalion only recently arrived in Iraq to replace 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, scheduled to redeploy soon.

"We were fortunate to detain a number of suspected terrorists on our wanted list," said Lt. Col. Willard A. Buhl, the 41-year-old battalion commander from Los Gratos, Calif. "We also found the largest series of buried caches of IED-making materials that our engineer platoon has seen in Iraq since February."

A detachment of Marines from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, armed with metal detectors, discovered a large number of rocket-propelled grenades, crew-served and specialty weapons.

"Fifty-one 107 mm rockets, enemy sniper rifles and a silenced submachine gun were found," Buhl said. "We found 15 (rocket-propelled grenade launchers), a rifle and other weapons," added Cpl. Leon A. Rodrigo, a 21-year-old combat engineer with Company K from Pesmo Beach, Calif. "My team just gets on line with the metal detectors and start sweeping the entire area."...

The rest of the story is about the help that the Marines are getting from local Iraqis - especially in the area of identifying terrorists and their caches of weapons and explosives.

Looks like the Thundering Third is off to a great start.