ING, 24th MEU capture large weapons cache during raid

27 Aug 2004 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon

Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, working closely with Iraqi National Guardsmen, conducted a raid in central Iraq Aug. 26, netting a large weapons cache that included dozens of weapons, munitions and explosive making devises.

The raid, led by the MEU’s Force Reconnaissance Platoon and members of Delta Company of the Iraqi National Guard, initially began at a different target. The Marines from the Force Reconnaissance Platoon went in and secured the buildings, which later led them to a second target where the cache was found.

At the second objective, the Force Reconnaissance Platoon secured the building and began to exploit the site with help from the ING, combat engineers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians and members of an interrogation team. Marines from 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, set up blocking positions, allowing no one to enter or exit the area around the site.

Combat engineers armed with metal detectors cleared the site and began finding weapons and ammunition, which had either been buried or camouflaged in the surrounding area.

“This was a lot of hard work for everyone out there,” said Capt. Billy Ray Moore, a New Castle, Ind., native and company commander of Alpha Company.

The raid turned up a laundry list of items that included everything from small arms and machine guns to mortars, rockets and bomb-making materials, some of which were rigged to explode.

The items found included Rocket Propelled Grenades and launchers, rifle grenades, hand grenades, 167 mm ammunition, 57 mm rockets, 120 mm mortars, 89 mm rockets, electric blasting caps, detonation cord, 30 mm cannon parts, a Dragonov rifle, AK-47 assault rifles and several other small arms and light machine guns with ammunition.

“That was a pretty good haul for the day,” said Moore. “[The raid] went extremely well. We found an extremely large weapons cache. All the units out there acted very professional.”

“The Force Platoon is phenomenal,” he added. “They are smooth, fast and know how to do business.”

Moore also gave credit to the ING company. “The ING was very flexible and extremely motivated,” he said. “They were about getting the job done and getting these weapons out of the hands of the enemy.”

Once everything had been found, the EOD technicians consolidated the items and prepared them for demolition. With everything in place, the techs blew all the ammunition and explosives, creating a massive blast.

The ING and the MEU will continue to conduct raids in the area to uncover weapons and bomb-making material.  Their work is part of an ongoing effort to take weapons and ammunition off the streets.