Weapons cache found in Tal Afar

82nd Airborne Division
Story by Sgt. James Wilt

Date: 10.19.2005
Posted: 10.19.2005 13:07
News ID: 3404
Cpl. Hayes organizes weapons his unit found during a raid

Pfc. James Wilt<br /> 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Office<br /> Oct. 18, 2005<br /> <br /> TALL AFAR, Iraq -- Paratroopers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and Company B, 307th Engineer Battalion, 82nd Abn. Div., uncovered a cache of weapons during a raid on a house here, Oct. 18, 2005.<br /> <br /> The combined unit unearthed seven assault rifles, one medium machine gun, six hand grenades, three anti-aircraft rounds modified for use as hand grenades, seven ammunition vests, over 2,500 rounds of ammunition, 30 magazines and materials thought to be used to make improvised explosive devices.<br /> <br /> Working off of a tip from a local resident, the paratroopers searched the house last night in an effort to uncover any weapons there.<br /> <br /> Three assault rifles and two ammunition vests were found during the initial search, said Staff Sgt. Jason R. Gillis, an infantryman with Co. B, 2nd Bn., 325th AIR.<br /> <br /> The informant who gave the unit the tip approached the paratroopers a second time to tell them that he believed there were still more weapons inside the house, Gillis, a native of Goldsboro, N.C., said.<br /> <br /> Again following the lead from the informant, the troopers returned to the house in the morning armed with a metal detector and digging tools.<br /> <br /> Once in the target room, the unit's metal detector didn't find anything beneath the stone lined floor, said Spc. Christopher L. Sharp, a combat engineer, with Co. B, 307th Eng. Bn.<br /> <br /> Undeterred, Sharp and Pfc. Valentino R. Cuellar, also a combat engineer, began moving rocks to search for any recently moved soil, Sharp, a Dallas native, said.<br /> <br /> Picking up a rock by the doorway, Sharp said, he noticed the dirt was not packed down like the rest of the floor.<br /> <br /> After removing more rocks, Sharpe found a barrel buried in the dirt.<br /> <br /> Inside of the barrel was the largest cache Co. B, 2nd Bn. 325th AIR has found in their sector, Sharp said.<br /> <br /> The paratroopers removed the weapons and filled in the hole were the cache was buried.<br /> <br /> Moving on to search the rest of the house and surrounding area, the Soldiers found electronic devices believed to be used for making IEDs.<br /> <br /> No detainees were taken as the house was unoccupied.<br /> <br /> The raid was part of the 82nd Airborne Division's efforts to make the streets here safer for the Iraqi people.<br /> <br /> "Look at all the stuff that we found, how many lives we probably saved," said Cuellar, a native of Los Angeles. <br /> <br /> The paratroopers will remain in the city for an undetermined amount of time and will continue to conduct operations here in an attempt to maintain stability in the region.