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Posted on Apr 7, 2004 in War College

The Battle of An Nasiriyah

By Richard S. Lowry

Now LtCol Grabowski’s Marines had two missions; secure the bridges and rescue as many of the stranded soldiers as they could. He immediately ordered Major Bill Peeples to move forward with his M1 tanks. TEAM TANK pressed forward and soon they were receiving fire from both sides of the road.

Meanwhile, ten soldiers had abandoned their shot-up vehicles and raced for cover in a trench along the side of the road. Running low on ammunition and with five wounded, they resigned themselves to the fact that they would not survive the day. They all resolved that they would go down fighting. They lay in the trench for nearly an hour, waiting for the Iraqis to close in on their position and their final stand against the enemy. Suddenly, Staff Sergeant Tarik Jackson, the most seriously wounded, cocked his head, "Listen!" he exclaimed.

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"Do you hear that?"

"It sounds like our tanks!"

Someone peeked up out of the trench and saw Major Peeples Marine tanks approaching.


Burning 507th Vehicle

TEAM TANK moved in and straddled the trench. They began picking targets and methodically destroying the enemy. COBRA helicopters swooped in and continued the fight. Soon the wounded were being treated and these ten lucky soldiers were being moved to safety.

The day was just beginning for LtCol Grabowski’s 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. They continued north into the city. Unfortunately, they only found burning hulks of the remaining 507th vehicles. The occupants had all been removed. It would be weeks before the fate of the remaining soldiers was known.

So, now Grabowski’s Marines focused back on securing the bridges through An Nasiriyah. After a short pause to refuel, Bravo Company led the battalion across the Euphrates River Bridge and into the city. Captain Michael Brooks’ Alpha Company raced across the river next and set up defensive positions while Bravo Company turned northeast to skirt the eastern edge of the city. Objective 1, the first bridge was secure. They had accomplished half of their mission.

Captain Dan Wittnam raced across the Euphrates River Bridge with his Charlie Company, riding in eleven Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs or "tracks"). Charlie Company drove straight through the center of town, toward the second, northern bridge. Enemy fire erupted all around them. Charlie Company plowed forward through the ever-increasing enemy fire. Lance Corporal Edward Castleberry was driving the lead vehicle ? C201.

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