News: Marines, Afghan soldiers hunt Taliban
Story by Lance Cpl. John McCall
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Afghan national army soldiers and Marines with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, conducted an operation to clear out compounds in Norzai, Afghanistan, Nov. 6.
Under the cover of night, Marines maneuvered to a nearby village and waited until sunrise to begin searching compounds for caches of illegal drugs, weapons and improvised, explosive device-making material.
"We hit all the houses that we were trying to get to," said Lance Cpl. John Franke, 20, an amphibious assault vehicle operator from Greenville, S.C. "Besides looking for weapons caches and IED-making materials, we were trying to catch an IED maker that is supposedly living in one of the villages."
Marines did their best to clear out as many compounds as they could before losing the element of surprise. With the help of ANA soldiers, Marines were able to move faster and cover more ground.
During their searches, Marines were very cautious of improvised booby traps — a tactic used by the enemy. Each route used by troops was carefully swept using a metal detector.
"I was a little bit nervous, but I've been trained how to use the sweeper, so I knew I could do it," said Frankie, 20, from Greensville, S.C. "I just wanted to make sure I did the job right. Even if that meant taking my time, because I don't want to see any of these guys get hurt."
Nearing the end of their seven-month deployment, Marines aren't taking any chances when it comes to keeping each other safe.
"We try to search houses often to keep [enemy insurgents] guessing," said Staff Sgt. David Dial, 29, a section leader from Newnan, Ga. "We didn't find anything this time but no one got hurt either so I guess things worked out."