Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Battle Of Salar Ban, Afghanistan

During our search of a home in Salar Ban, we discovered roughly one-thousand pounds of explosives with an additional one-thousand pounds of time fuses and other accessories used to detonate explosives," said Spurlock.

During the search, the explosives were discovered by two combat engineers attached to Charlie Company - Lance Cpl. Jordan Mills, from Louisville, Ky., and Lance Cpl. Daniel Johnson, from Salt Lake City.
"Almost as soon as we got the word that the explosives were found, I saw a back-blast from an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) and saw the RPG headed straight for us," said Lance Cpl. Brandon Benz-Marrs, assaultman, 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1/3. "I dived down and thought, 'This is it. We're dead.' Then, somehow, it ended up landing about 15 meters from us. None of us were hit. We didn't have time to count our luck. We immediately started sending rounds down range," recalled the Wailuku, Maui native.

What ensued over the next 30 minutes was a ferocious firefight between Marines from Charlie Company and the ACM, the likes of which Charlie Company Marines hadn't seen since the battle of Fallujah in Iraq in November of 2004, noted Sgt. Michael Chambers, platoon sergeant, 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1/3.

"The Marines who hadn't seen combat before got their wish today," said Chambers, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device medal recipient from Lexington, S.C. "The enemy had the terrain advantage. The potential was there for them to put a hurting on us, but the Marines did what they were trained to do and in the end, we crushed them."

Indeed, according to Spurlock, later reports estimated that upwards of 20 insurgents were killed in the firefight and in the artillery bombardment and air support that followed.

"All told, including the initial firefight, the battle lasted over an hour, but once the big guns and air support came in there was nothing the enemy could do," said Chambers. "I heard we killed 20 of them. I wish it was 21. There is always room for one more dead Taliban who is trying to kill Marines, our ANA brothers and innocent Afghans."

Many Lava Dogs from Charlie Company called it a miracle that there were no Marine casualties during the exchange. "I think it was a combination of a miracle by God and Marine Corps training that none of us were killed or wounded at Salar Ban," said Lance Cpl. Jose Romero, 1st Fire Team Leader, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1/3. "For a minute there I thought I was going to die, but I never felt fear. All I felt was the Marine Corps training kicking in. It seemed like we were in one firefight or another every day on this operation, but Salar Ban was definitely the worst, or, if you think about it, the best."

Others were a little less spiritual in their outlook on the battle at Salar Ban.

"Yeah, I'm surprised none of us died at Salar Ban," said Cpl. David Gordon, 3rd Squad Leader, 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1/3. "There were a lot of close calls," continued the Bowling Springs, S.C., native. "It just came down to they missed and we didn't."
"It was luck no Marines got killed," said Mills. "Pure and simple good old-fashioned luck. The Marines are good. But I'd rather be lucky than good any day."

"They shot crooked and we shot straight," added Frost in his summation of the firefight.

Others chalked up the decisive Marine Corps victory at Salar Ban to neither divine intervention nor luck, but rather to the superiority of Marine Corps training and the fighting spirit of the individual Marines.

"To have RPG's and AK-47's shot at you, you would think that the reasonable man theory would kick in and you'd start spazzing the heck out and dive in a ditch or something," said Davis. "These guys didn't do that at all. They held their positions and immediately put lead back toward the enemy. The Marines did good. No, they did better than good. They were awesome."

Some would say none more so than Davis himself.

"Years from now probably most of the Marines who were at Salar Ban won't remember how Gunny Davis steadfastly checked on the safety of his Marines or that he advanced on the enemy, but rather that it was he who first broke the tension of combat by cracking open an MRE (meal ready to eat) immediately after the initial firing stopped and said to a group of Marines in his nonchalant way, 'Combat makes me hungry,'"
I know damn well he didn't say "Combat makes me hungry."

"Killin' (insert the derogatory name for an enemy here)...makes me hungry," is more like it.


badanov said...

Once more the Marines make me proud to be an American.

More dead terrorists.

Fits said...

Semper Fi.