15th MEU News

MSPF hits Ba'ath HQ, recovers intelligence

13 Mar 2003 | Cpl. Anthony R. Blanco

Maritime Special Purpose Force Marines and Sailors with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) conducted a precision, direct action raid April 1 at a suspected Ba'ath Party official's house and several other buildings as a coordinated attack with group of Army and Navy special forces while they rescued an Army female prisoner of war, Pfc. Jennifer Lynch, at a hospital 5 kilometers away.

The MSPFs attack on the Ba'ath Party headquarters was a designed to avert attention from the rescue, which was a successful mission. The MSPF also succeeded in their mission by recovering intelligence items and also didn't receive any casualties, according to Staff Sgt. Andre K. Bosier, 29, a radio operator and Houston native with, 3rd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Detachment.

Using the cover of darkness, force reconnaissance Marines moved along side a wall to gain entry into the first objective area.  After a M1A1 Main Battle Tank breached a hole in the wall, Marines and Sailors quickly swarmed into the house.

"After the tank breached the wall for us, we were able to enter the compound and secure the house," said Sgt. Shane H. Denna, 31, an Ukiah, Calif., native, recon assistant radio operator, 3rd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Detachment.

After the successful direct action raid, an AV-8B Harrier attack jet deployed a 500 pound bomb on the second objective approximately 600 meters away. 

Following the blast, Marines from Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/1, 15th MEU (SOC) fired mortar rounds down range to continue the bombardment of the target area. 

While mortars were exploding near the Ba'ath Party headquarters, a group of Light Armored Vehicles and M1A1 Main Battle Tanks moved into position to continue the attack. 

Marines fired tank rounds, 25mm chain guns, and .50 caliber machine guns for approximately ten minutes during the assault on the target area.

Tracer rounds lit the sky, like something out of a Star Wars movie, as Marines opened fire into the target area.  At the same time as Marines were firing from LAV's and M1A1 Main Battle Tanks, the MSPF moved parallel to the objective sight.

Because of the onslaught by M1A1 Main Battle Tanks and LAVs, Bosier started to think that any items of intelligence value might be destroyed.

"It was cool, but if they keep it up any longer I thought their would be nothing left for us," Bosier said.  "We still had to go into the buildings and search for people and intelligence."  

Moving stealthy across the bridge on their way to the Ba'ath Party headquarters, recon Marines quickly moved throughout the objective area.  As they were moving from building to building, force reconnaissance Marines cleared each of them and at first didn't find any intelligence or people remaining in the area. However, they did find and destroy an anti-aircraft gun and ammunition, Bosier said.

Once the last building was deemed clear, Marines and Sailors started to pack up until Marines from an M1A1 Main Battle Tank, using their thermal vision, discovered that their was one person in the next building over.

"When we heard that, I wondered why would someone still be here after that attack," Bosier said.  "We ended up [convincing] the guy to come out, and from him, we received a lot of good intel."

By taking the initiative and decideing to check out the other building, the MSPF had some intelligence to show for the night.  
"If we didn't go into the next building to look for the guy, we would have never been able to collect any intel," Bosier said. 

Many Marines from force reconnaissance were so involved with their mission, they were unaware of the success of the POW recovery. They were all very happy to hear that she was recovered and in good care. "Overall this was a very successful mission," Bosier added.  

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit