15th MEU News

Marines disrupt plans, save lives

11 Jan 2007 | Lance Cpl. Timothy T. Parish

The Marines of 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion currently assigned to 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operation Capable) saved the lives of two Iraqi men and captured two suspected insurgents with weapons and bomb-making material Jan. 9, 2007 during a routine security patrol.

As their convoy rolled into a group of abandoned buildings along their route, a Marine spotted four men in the distance, one partially hidden behind a rise.  We saw this one guy a little over a hundred meters away I thought he was digging at the time, but he was ditching some stuff, said Cpl. Shawn M. Currie, a platoon radio operator.   

After searching the men, one of the men began gesturing toward the area beyond the rise, trying to tell the Marines something.  Currie called an interpreter to question the men, and found what the man was trying to say.  The interpreter told the Marines that the man was saying these guys took me out here to kill me, according to Currie.

The Marines continued questioning the men.  We said to him thanks for showing us where the stuff was, but where is more stuff, according to Cpl. Celio A. Almeida, assistant team leader.  He pointed to a car that was over in a compound and he said there are more weapons, Almeida said.

The Marines continued to ask questions and gathered from the interpreter that two of the men were in fact hostages, and the other two suspected insurgents.  One of the victims told the Marines that he and the other captive had been kidnapped for three days and were at the abandoned buildings waiting to be executed.  They had been captured, basically kidnapped, and [the victim] pointed to the other two guys and said arab, arab, arab, which I took to mean bad guys, Almeida said.

Along with hidden weapons, the Marines found ammunition, bomb-making material, and fraudulent documents, according to Almeida.

The impact the Marines had was evident in the rescued mens reaction.  One of the men rode back in my vehicle he was in tears of joy, just crying and thanking us.  We saved a mans life, maybe within hours, if not minutes.  I'll never forget it, Currie said.

The rescue also will have a lasting impact on the Marines who took part in the chance event, according to Capt. Jason R. Johnston, platoon commander.  The look on their faces is something that I'll never forget.  It was very heartwarming and the whole platoon got a great sense of satisfaction that we could actually see some results from the great work that we've done, Johnston said. 

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit