11 – 18 May 2006: Haqlaniyah Hotel

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A55WKilo Company engaged a group of insurgents in an abandoned hotel in Haqlaniyah; after a several hour firefight, the hotel was destroyed by precision-guided munitions dropped by aircraft. — Source: 1st Marine Division Press Release


News

Marines fight grenade attacks, drive-by’s, IEDs; capture insurgents

June 6, 2006
By Sgt. Roe F. Seigle
1st Marine Division

[Sgt. Mennen] Suleiman, and the rest of the Marines from Kilo Company, many of whom served in Afghanistan last year, have battled the insurgency with a fierceness that only highly-trained infantrymen can bring to the battlefield.

During a regular patrol earlier this month, several Marines observed a handful of insurgents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, scurry into an abandoned hotel in the city – a hotel which once served as a vacation spot for Hussein before he was ousted from power in 2003.

The Marines decided to take action.

The plan was simple: the Marines would cordon off the hotel and then raid it to apprehend the insurgents, according to Gunnery Sgt. Jim Lanham, 36, the unit’s company gunnery sergeant. Before they cordoned the building off, they received small-arms fire from within the hotel.

The Marines held their ground and returned fire into the hotel’s shattered windows. Meanwhile, military aircraft partially destroyed the hotel with precision munitions.

The Marines suffered no casualties.

“This is what will happen when insurgents try to fight Kilo Company toe-to-toe,” said 1st Sgt. Vincent Santiago, 35, the company’s senior enlisted advisor.

Source: 1st Marine Division Press Release


Lucky Marine

By Roger Leo
November 10, 2006

HAQLINIYAH (MAY 2006) – Lt. John C. Burke, 25, born in Foxboro, living in Boston, commander of the 3rd Platoon, Kilo Co., 3-3 Marines, was in the house when the bomb hit.

Looking at a video shot from a small digital camera, Burke described the blast: “This is the rooftop we’re on. See all the shell casings? Then ‘Blam,’ blackness. There were 13 Marines there. Myself and three others were on the roof, six were inside and three on the outside, and at least eight Iraqis.

“It was three sensations all at once: I heard the noise, felt the overpressure , saw basically darkness.

“One child has a laceration above the right eye, turned out it was nothing a couple of band-aids couldn’t fix, but we called for a Priority 1 medevac.

“I didn’t know if everyone was all right. It took about 30 seconds to figure it out then another few seconds to get on the radio.

“It was an accident. No one was seriously hurt. The Marines didn’t let the bomb make them lose focus on the mission. It was a good learning experience,” Lt. Burke said.

That ended the day’s aerial bombardment. Next day, it resumed and over the course of the following week the derelict building was leveled.

Maj. James F. Kendall, 37, of Nashua, N.H., fire support coordinator, said that between May 11, when Sgt. Anders’ patrol was attacked, and May 18, when the former hotel was leveled, at least 16 aerial weapons were dropped.

These included seven 500-pound bombs, five hellfire missiles, two TOW missiles and two 2,000-pound bombs, some guided by laser beams, others by programmed coordinates, others through thin wires.

“We were able to come up with a weaponry solution to drop the building without collateral damage and without endangering Marines,” Maj. Kendall said.

“The hotel has been a problem for a long time. It was a known insurgent location, and having bad guys in the building was a good opportunity for us. PsyOps (psychological operations) did make surrender appeals, but they were ignored. Battalion urged the mayor to talk with the insurgents, to surrender. He couldn’t go near the place, it was rigged to blow up,” Maj. Kendall said.

Source: Men at War blog


Photographs


Video

Final Destruction of Hotel

Blue-on-Blue


A fixed-wing aircraft hits the house Third Platoon is in.

Moto Video 1

Moto Video 2

Blue-on-Blue (No Sound)


Third Platoon receives a near miss.


Awards

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device

Gayle Anders

Navy CommMeritorious achievement while serving as 3d Squad Leader, 3d Squad, 1st Platoon, Company K, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7, I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward, on 11 May 2006, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. On this date, while manning an observation post, Sergeant Anders’ squad came under intense enemy small arms fire from an abandoned hotel. Sergeant Anders quickly maneuvered his squad into an advantageous position in order to gain fire superiority, while simultaneously requesting a quick reaction force and close air support from higher headquarters. His squad was able to effectively cordon off the hotel, severing the enemy’s egress routes until reinforcements and close air support arrived. Sergeant Anders then directed the placement of the quick reaction force in the cordon, thereby, controlling three separate maneuver elements while under fire. Sergeant Anders’ leadership and calmness under enemy fire led to the destruction of an enemy safe house and the death of at least five insurgents. Sergeant Anders’ initiative, perseverance and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Kevin Dool

Navy CommHeroic achievement while serving as 1st Team Leader, 2d Squad, 3d Platoon, Company K, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, Regimental Combat Team-7, I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward, on 11 May 2006, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. On this day, Corporal Dool effectively led his fire team during the reinforcement of an adjacent unit who was in a direct fire engagement with the enemy at an abandoned hotel in Haqlaniyah, Iraq. Upon arrival, he immediately established his team’s position in the cordon, denying the enemy the ability to egress. Once his team received enemy fire, he exposed himself to the enemy in order to direct his Marines during the engagement, ensuring they established a safe sector of fire. He also sent timely and accurate reports to his squad leader and the platoon commander, conveying essential situational updates and battle damage assessment. Corporal Dool demonstrated his unmatched ability to lead his Marines throughout an intense and chaotic environment. Corporal Dool’s initiative, perseverance, and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device

John Burke

NAMProfessional achievement in the superior performance of his duties while serving as 3d Platoon Commander, Company K, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward, on 11 May 2006, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. On this date, Second Lieutenant Burke courageously led a dismounted quick reaction force to reinforce a unit under direct fire from the enemy where he coordinated and directed the cordon of the target hotel in Haqlaniyah, Iraq. While effectively preventing enemy egress, and under sporadic enemy small arms fire, he coordinated multiple direct fire engagements. As units occupied positions within 300 meters of the hotel, he coordinated and deconflicted close air support strikes from both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft and followed up with timely battle damage assessments. His actions to ensure Marines and sailors were in covered positions during the air strikes undoubtedly saved lives when ordnance strayed from its intended target and landed within 30 meters of their position. Second Lieutenant Burke’s initiative, perseverance, and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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