“In another effort to demonstrate the reach of the Afghan Government, and to increase the pressure on the AQAM to lay down their arms and reconcile with the Afghan government, the Battalion executed Operation MAVERICKS in March in northern Laghman Province.” — Source: 3/3 Command Chronology for the Period 01 January to 30 June 2005
3/3 Command Chronology
“Phase II of the operation involved the helicopter insertion of Kilo Company (reinforced) along with NAVSOF in the village of Paitak and the ground movement of Lima Company (reinforced) and one KANDAK company into the village of Dawlet Shah, both in northern Laghman.
“Initially the operation in Paitak produced eighteen detainees. NAVSOF and the Kilo Marines also located an extensive cave network and systematically cleared it. They also discovered a large arms cache in which they destroyed. Lima Company’s objective in the south had been affected by severe flooding and became the focus of HA operations initiating Phase III of the operation early in that objective area. Phase III of Operation MAVERICKS was completed when Kilo Company successfully extracted from the northern objective in Paitak after conducting sustained IO, CMO, ami MEDCAP for three additional days. Phase IV of the operation continued with Lima Company working closely with the Governor of Laghman and the Laghman Disaster Response Chief to address needs of the people in and around the southern objectives. Although the washed out roads and non-availability of aircraft prohibited Lima from reaching Dawlet Shah, the Company’s disaster relief efforts continued to target those displaced from their initial objective areas by the flooding. Specifically, Lima Company erected a tent village for those displaced, built a retaining wall with Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds to protect a threatened area, mitigated effects with sand bag details, and provided MEDCAP operations. The Governor of Laghman assessed that these efforts had a significant and productive impact on the people of northern Laghman and did a great deal to extend his reach there.
“Kilo Company’s (with NAVSOF) actions on Objective TORONTO (Paitak village) over three days produced a number of positive effects. In collective memory, this was the first coalition operation in that area. Although the people in the objective area were initially frightened of the helicopters and the targeted detention effort, that effort was followed by approximately 48 hours of MEDCAP and CMO efforts that culminated with the Kilo Company Commander meeting with approximately 60 village elders where the elders pledged their allegiance to the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) and expressed a desire to police up those who were conducting anti-government activity in their region. The MEDCAP had considerable impact, as illness, to include tuberculosis, was widespread in the Paitak region. Operation MAVERICKS produced two significant arms caches to include 90 anti-personnel mines and a large quantity of IED making material. Both caches were video recorded and destroyed. While on Objective TORONTO, LLVI traffic indicated that at least seven of those detained were AQAM sub-commanders. Further traffic and HUMINT reporting on the ground indicated that the AQAM were attempting to develop an attack against Kilo Company, but were unable to execute the attack because of both the weather and fear of repercussion. The status of the four Kilo Company and 14 NAVSOF detainees in the level I detention facility at Bagram Air Field (BAF) was closely monitored. All were positively identified by the vetted source as participants in violent anti-government activity, and a few were of the level influential enough to warrant keeping them in the BAF level II Regional Interrogation Facility (RIF) indefinitely. The Battalion then began to plan the repatriation of those who did not meet the criteria by arranging a flight back to Paitak to turn them over formally to the village elders with an appropriate explanation for their initial detention and their release. Operation MAVERICKS generated 47 national level sensitive reporting hits associated with AI-Qaeda activity. Phase IV continued with Lima Company and ANA remaining in Laghman following up on all CMO and CERP projects.” — Source: 3/3 Command Chronology for the Period 01 January to 30 June 2005
“22 Feb-16 Mar: Phase I of Operation MAVERICKS.”
“19-21 Mar: Kilo Company participated in Operation MAVERICKS in Northern Laghman Province.”
“19-24 Mar: Lima Company participated in Operation MAVERICKS in Northern Laghman Province.”
“24 Mar: Lima Company concluded Phase III of Operation MAVERICKS after completing security operations and MEDCAP and HA operations in Northern Laghman.” — Source: 3/3 Command Chronology for the Period 01 January to 30 June 2005
Operation Mavericks Captures Suspected Terrorists
By U.S. Marine Cpl. Rich Mattingly
Combat Correspondent, America’s Battalion
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan, April 5, 2005 — Third Battalion, 3rd Marines, “America’s Battalion,” completed Operation Mavericks this week, successfully rounding up suspected terrorists and confiscating several weapons and explosives caches in the still snow-covered mountains of Eastern Afghanistan.
Kilo and Lima companies combined their efforts during the battalion operation, simultaneously pursuing several targets they believed were hiding in the Alishang District of Laghman Province. Kilo also worked with Navy Special Operations Forces who shared a third of their objective among the hilltop villages.
Both the Navy SEALS and Marines said pooling their resources was mutually beneficial during Mavericks.
“Working with NAVSOF was great,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Poliquin, Kilo Co. platoon commander, adding, “We do business in a very similar manner. We’re both very methodical and detail-oriented with mission-accomplishment being the top priority.”
Many of the SEALS and Marines, having had experience working with the other service as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit, were able to speak the same operational language, which the Marines said kept the mission focused.
“I’ve never seen something go as ‘according-to-plan’ as this did with as many variables as we had,” said Capt. Skyler Mallicoat, Kilo company commander.
The Marines were the first Coalition forces many of the villagers had ever encountered. Dealing with the culture shock and keeping everyone calm was essential to the success of the mission.
“There are some uncertainties on both sides, among the young Marines who have never experienced this culture before and from the Afghans who see us swoop in on these huge machines and walk around with all our gear,” explained Sgt. Michael Villanueva, Kilo Co. squad leader.
“Things became heated between one of the Marines and a man whose house we needed to search. Afterwards, though, when everything had calmed down the Marine and the Afghan man shook hands. I think seeing that, everyone understands we’re not here to disrupt anyone’s way of life or hurt anyone who isn’t out to hurt other people. Maybe an Afghan child seeing that will get the right idea about who we are and why we’re here instead of believing whatever stories they are told about us.”
The Marines distributed humanitarian assistance supplies to the people of the villages after they had finished their search, and set in for a cold, wet night on the mountainside. Numerous indicators, to include information from sympathetic villagers, gave warning to possible attacks during the night against their position.
The Marines waited, but the enemy never appeared.
“At this point, they know what we bring to the table,” said Mallicoat, referring to the enemy’s hesitation to engage the Marines. “They know they are a defeated force and they cannot match us.”
“We accomplished a lot out there,” said Lance Cpl. Rob Gaye, a machine gunner with Kilo Co. “When the villagers realized we weren’t there to hurt them, they calmed down. If we cause any damage during our operations, we do what we can to fix or replace it. It feels good to be able to do the right things for the people.”
“It’s all about seeing the broader perspective,” said Villanueva. “Once they see that we’re focused on making their villages safer, they help us.”
America’s Battalion continues to dig deeper into territory Coalition Forces have yet to breech as the temperature change draws insurgents back into Eastern Afghanistan from their winter hideouts. The Marines will continue their security mission in the coming months as they anticipate an increase in activity from terrorists as the weather improves.