BLT 1/2 Marines get in scrap in Musayyib

21 Aug 2004 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon

Iraqi insurgents set off a roadside bomb, then attacked a convoy of Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Aug. 20, as the convoy made its way through Musayyib to Forward Operating Base Kalsu. The Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, fought with roughly 12 to15 insurgents in the town. The Marines held their own and eventually made it to FOB Kalsu with no casualties.“We had just made a left turn onto a dirt road in Musayyib when I noticed a man on the left side. He looked liked he was plunging something, so I halted the convoy,” said Staff Sgt. Michael C. Mceachern, 29, a Hyannis, Mass., native and motor transport operations chief. “Some Marines went after the man, but did not catch him. We then made another left turn, and about 200 meters in front of us an explosion went off.”The Marines then halted the convoy and set up to wait for Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians.As nearly two hours passed, the streets in the city began to empty and the Marines could hear a person talking on what sounded like a loud speaker. Later on, Marines were told the voice was urging locals to rise up against the Americans.Soon after that, the Marines began to notice people running away from their area. “Get ready, something is going to happen,” shouted one of the Marines.At the same time, a few of the mechanics from the Battalion’s Motor Transport section were working to repair a busted tow-chain on one of the trucks.“I heard them call for a mechanic, so I went up to look at one of the humvees,” said Mceachern. “I had just said this is not a good time. Then all hell broke loose.”Two Marines from the convoy were standing in the road searching a pedestrian trying to pass by the convoy went bullets started flying from down the street.Marines manning the vehicle-mounted M-240G and MK-19 machine guns immediately began to return fire in the direction of the insurgents. Other Marines quickly found cover wherever they could and sent their own lead downrange.Along with machine gun fire, the insurgents fired a mortar round hitting the top of a building where several Marines had found cover. The Marines continued to return fire.“When I looked up, all I could see was Lance Cpl. [Rattanak] Yun firing his [M-240G],” said Mceachern. “His truck was taking a beating, but he never flinched and just kept firing that 240.”I fired off my whole belt of ammunition,” said Cpl. Andre Queiroga, 21, a Ludlow, Mass., native and a motor transport operator. “The building I was shooting at went up in flames.”The whole event lasted about 10 minutes, but the Marines continued to hold their position as other Marines from Charlie Company pushed out and began searching buildings in the area around the firefight. A few shots were fired here and there, but eventually the Marines mounted their vehicles and pushed on to FOB Kalsu.“All the Marines did a helluva job,” said Mceachern. “They did what they were supposed to do, and no one flinched what so ever. I think they picked the wrong day to mess with 1/2 Motor T.”