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ING, Alpha 1/2 capture bomb maker, materials

13 Sep 2004 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Soldiers from the Iraqi National Guard and Marines from 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit captured a bomb maker and explosive materials during a raid in the early morning hours of Sept. 12.The ING and Marines from Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 2nd Marines, raided a house in the town of Iskandariyah after receiving a tip about the suspect's location. "We got word from the MEU that this raid needed to happen within the next 48 hours so we began our planning for it," said 2nd Lt. Mark Nicholson, 26, a Wheeling, W. Va., native and the 2nd Platoon commander. "We stepped off at 1 a.m. expecting to be on the site for two and half hours, but this guy rolled over pretty quickly." The raid went down with Marines from Alpha Company setting up blocking positions around the house while soldiers from the ING and Marines from the platoon's headquarters element gained entry to the residence. Once inside, they began searching the premises and turned up a laundry list of bomb making materials and some ammunition. "The ING did a good job making entry," said Nicholson."I think the ING was anxious to get in there and get these guys. They are tearing up their country, and I think they wanted these guys more than we did," added Sgt. Francis V. Fabiano III, 23, a Lampsas, Texas native and squad leader with 2nd Platoon. The find included five grenades, one and a half pounds of C-4 explosives, 18 blasting caps, two remote detonators, three power supplies/initiators, a Nokia cell phone and 200 rounds of linked 7.62 ammunition. "This was a good find," said Fabiano. "Anytime we can find somebody making (improvised explosive devices), it is a good find. I am tired of getting blown up and hearing about people getting blown up.""This was a really big score for the Marines," said Nicholson. "This was a textbook raid. We basically just did a snatch and grad. Everything happened so fast I didn't even have time to give situation reports." The next morning when Nicholson's platoon set out on patrol they stopped by the house again to conduct a second search and discovered several machine gun tripods. They also detained the suspect's car. "The Marines did a great job setting up their (blocking positions)," said Fabiano. "All the Marines know their job and know what to do. You almost don't even have to tell them anything." "I think the big thing here is that this was a (high-value) target," said Nicholson. "We captured the guy and he is still talking, (giving) us more (intelligence) for future raids."