Reconnaissance Marines rescue hostage, uncover caches
Story by 2nd Lt. Lawton King
FUHAYLAT, Iraq (Nov. 28, 2006) - Marines assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 rescued one hostage and uncovered two partially buried caches Nov. 28 while conducting a show of force in Fuhaylat, Iraq.
"By rescuing this gentleman and capturing the kidnappers, it shows the Iraqi people we do care for them, their safety and their future," said Lt. Col. William Seely, the 39-year-old battalion commander from Saigon, Vietnam. "I am extremely proud of those Marines. The Marines saved a life and reunited a family. It just doesn't get any better."
After receiving intelligence from organic sources, Marines raided a house and launched an extensive search of the premises.
"We hit the house, vehicles enveloped it and we cordoned it off," said Sgt. David Evans, a 23-year-old assistant team leader from Natchitoches, La. "We went through it and searched it."
Soon after gaining entry into the facility, Marines discovered three suspected insurgents reclining in beds and a local national hostage huddled on the floor whose body bore marks of torture.
"It looked like they had beaten him pretty bad with a cane," said Cpl. Eric Maxwell, a 21-year-old pointman from Fort Pierce, Fla. "He couldn't stand on his own; we had to pick him up. Our corpsman provided medical attention to the guy."
The three insurgents were detained.
The situation continued to develop, though, and culminated in the reduction of two arms caches.
"Another platoon had a 'squirter' get away, so my vehicle and Cpl. Maxwell's vehicle moved from the house; the rest of the element move in on the guy on foot," Evans said.
After pursuing the fleeing insurgent through fields, the Marines chanced upon "a dug-up cache in a reed line," he added.
The find led them to another cache 50 meters to the west on the other side of a canal.
In sum, the stockpiles yielded one 155 mm artillery round and 15 130 mm artillery rounds, commonly used in improvised explosive devices. Both supplies were destroyed by combat engineers attached to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.
Marines also uncovered several identification badges, insurgent propaganda, one Italian 8 mm pistol with magazine, one AK 47 assault rifle with a chest rig and six magazines, and one M-14 with 10 rounds.
According to Maxwell, the day's mission was "really productive."
"You might see a decrease in IED activity in that area," Evans said. "It makes them think, when is the next one going to come?"
"Saving that guy's life was definitely a plus ten," added Maxwell.