AL AMARAH, Iraq -- Training counts. During the shipboard stages of their deployment Marines from the 24th MEU spent countless hours sharpening their skills though Marine Corps Martial Arts training. Those hours of training paid off in Iraq.
During a vehicle search at a checkpoint near Al Mararah, Iraq, Marines from Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) discovered seven Kalashnikov rifles and two bags full of loaded magazines.
"We were just starting to set up our checkpoint when we saw a vehicle approaching with six people in it," said the Marines from Echo Co. "I stopped the vehicle and had the driver get out. I then had him open up everything. When I moved the seat back I saw the AKs. I then yelled to my to cover man 'AK', 'AK' and that is when the driver grabbed the muzzle of my rifle."
At the same time the driver grabbed his rifle the Marine said two of the men started to run off, but were apprehended as he tried to get his rifle away from the driver.
"I tired the 'Circle C' to get my rifle free, but that wasn't working," said the Marine. "When he wouldn't let go, I fired two rounds at him."
The Circle C is a technique used by Marines to free their rifle if someone grabs it. It is taught during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Training Program.
"One of the round went through the man's arm, while the other went through his knee," said the company gunnery sergeant, Echo Co. "The driver was then treated by our medical officer."
Upon further search of the vehicle, the Marines discovered the other rifles and two bags full of loaded magazines. The WIA and 5 other individuals were detained and turned to the MEU Service Support Group for processing. The weapons and ammunition were turned over to higher headquarters.