BARWANA, Iraq (Oct. 9, 2005) -- Marines with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion uncovered a cache of weapons after receiving a tip on the site’s approximate location.
Marines, sailors and soldiers from Regimental Combat Team-2 and from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team received the tip while conducting Operation River Gate in the town of Barwana and surrounding areas. Their mission for the operation was to eliminate insurgents, disrupt lines of communication and prevent interference with the Constitutional Referendum.
At the suspected cache site, Marines from Weapons Company and combat engineers from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion attached to 1st LAR discovered man-made dirt mounds, heavy equipment tracks and an area which appeared to have something buried underneath it.
“The area was larger than we had anticipated and it was quickly getting dark out,” said 1st Lt. James P. Donovan, a 29-year-old combat engineer. “We decided to come back at first light with mine sweeping and metal detecting devices.”
Weapons Company Marines posted security to prevent anyone from tampering with the site that night and returned in the morning ready to begin searching.
Pfc. Michael D. O’Neill, 21, and Donovan were conducting sweeps of the area when O’Neill’s metal detector began to sound.
“I had been picking up signals before and they turned out to be trash, but the length of this detection made me think,” O’Neill, a combat engineer and Amissville, Va., native commented. "I outlined the area, which was about 10 feet long, and the Marines began to dig.”
After a few minutes of digging, they discovered the outside of a structure and soon after, they uncovered the roof and a door.
“We pried the door open and I looked inside,” Donovan, East Point, Ga., native said. “The first thing I saw was 120 mm mortars ...
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Hat tip: 1 of the Few - 1st Light Armored Infantry Bn. veterans' site