By Sgt. Michael Tuttle<br /> 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment<br /> <br /> SAMARRA, Iraq – Two "substantial" weapons caches were found here recently during anti-insurgent operations.<br /> <br /> Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment uncovered the weapons and explosives buried in orange groves off of a main road outside the city.<br /> <br /> The caches included a grenade launcher and rocket propelled grenades, hundreds of mortar rounds, multiple anti-aircraft weapons, heavy machine guns and anti-tank weapons. Bomb making materials were also found including fuses, detonation cord and copper wire.<br /> <br /> "This area around Samarra has been a hotbed of insurgent activity," said Capt. Jason Holder, B Company commander. "These weapons, if left in the insurgents' hands, could have wreaked major havoc on Coalition Forces."<br /> <br /> Video equipment, used to record crimes and recruit future insurgents, was also found.<br /> <br /> Both caches were designed for long term use so that insurgents could retrieve the hidden weapons as needed, said Capt. Adisa King, A Co. commander. Some of the munitions were rusted, indicating that they had been buried for a long time.<br /> <br /> "They (insurgents) were going to come back to this location when their short supply ran out," King said.<br /> <br /> The first cache was found when B Co., while conducting a reconnaissance mission, found a shovel hanging from a tree in the orange groves. Believing the shovel was left as a marker, the company began thoroughly searching the area.<br /> <br /> The orange groves were in A Co.'s area of operations and the search was turned over to them. Joined by explosive ordnance disposal and military working dogs, A Co. spent more than a day in the citrus stench combing the rows of orange trees with mine sweepers and digging up weapons.<br /> <br /> "We brought one dog team when we began our search," said 1st Lt. Brendan Hagan, A Co. platoon leader. "We found so much we brought out another dog team."<br /> <br /> The second cache was found in a field owned by the same man who owns the land where the first was discovered. Again, a shovel was found marking the area.<br /> <br /> Sgt. Chris Dyer, an A Co. team leader, crawled through the brush and started digging an area of loose dirt. He found one barrel containing weapons a foot deep. He dug five feet deeper and uncovered a dozen more barrels holding weapons.<br /> <br /> "You can tell the field hadn't been tended in years, it was just high brush," Dyer said. "But they definitely put some time into laying out the weapons."<br /> <br /> The second cache was spread over three locations within a 100 square meter area.<br /> <br /> "This is a substantial find and it's going to set them back," said 2nd Lt. Patrick Orourke, B Co. platoon leader. "But we like to think about it in terms of how many lives might have been saved, not number of rounds."<br /> <br /> A controlled detonation conducted by EOD at the cache sites destroyed the munitions.