Operation Outlaw, 8 Jul 05

[Correction: Op was on 8 Jul, not 7 Jul]

CH-53 landing

On 8 July 2005, the Battalion mounted a Cordon & Search operation on the north bank of the Euphrates, a few miles to the east of New Ubaydi.  I believe this was called “Operation Outlaw”, and was mostly conducted by WarPig3 (Weapons Co, 3rd Platoon).  Recently, I interviewed Scott “Special” Edwards, who was the senior Forward Air Controller (FAC) with 3/2.  I also spoke with Chuck Yannizzi, the EOD Team Lead attached to 3/2.  They were both on the ground that day, and had a close call as they were picked up by CH-53s on a hot LZ.

Below is Scott Edwards’ account, as related to me, and used with his permission.  I was going to use this in the ‘Close Air’ chapter, but am now thinking about expanding it and using it in another chapter.

So, if anyone has more knowledge of this operation, or can guide me to more info about it, I’d really like to hear that.  Here’s what I’ve written so far…

Operation Outlaw

Later that summer, Capt Edwards himself was involved in a dicey situation when air support may have saved the day, as well as his own hide.  After discovering the pontoon bridge cache on June 4th, Weapons Company launched another cordon and search to the same area. This was Operation Outlaw, on July 8th, with WarPig 3 and attachments inserted via CH-53 helicopters in the predawn hours.  Edwards went along to coordinate air support.


outlaw5 yazzinni
Searching through the palm groves.  (Chuck Yannizzi photo) 

The search lasted through the day, locating heavy weapons and a dump truck converted into an improvised rocket launcher.  From a rooftop south of the village, Edwards controlled several helo strikes on targets across the river near New Ubaydi. As the mission wound down, the marines prepared for extract.  But when the big CH-53s approached, small arms fire broke out. Insurgents had filtered through the fields, and Edwards could hear the rattle of a firefight breaking out to the north.


He and four others left the farmhouse where they’d been, heading for the LZ.  They’d moved only a hundred meters when AK rounds started snapping by. Enemy fighters had slipped into the house they’d just left, and were firing at them as the CH-53s landed.  

Edwards hurriedly worked the radio to bring in a Huey-Cobra team for immediate support.  Gunny Chuck Yannizzi, the EOD Team Lead, was crouched next to Edwards and watched as a Cobra banked in aggressively.  “Hey, he’s aiming right at us!”, Yannizzi called out. But at the last second the pilot kicked rudder and let loose on the house. “When I saw the Hellfire impact that house, I figured it was time to go,” Edwards recalls.  “We sprinted to the bird, and as we took off, the 53s took some small arms fire.”

OpOutlaw map

(Map shows general locations based on interviews, not precise coordinates.  Red arrows show estimated paths of insurgents as they pushed south late in the operation.)

Below, photos from the operation, showing some of the insurgent weapons and equipment found as WarPig swept through the fields and orchards:



Fuel truck found and destroyed. (Chuck Yannizzi photo)
Flatbed truck found with weapons and improvised rocket launcher in bed. (Chuck Yannizzi photo)
Weapons in truck bed, including the barrel of a 14.5mm AA gun–in foreground. (Chuck Yannizzi photo)


outlaw1 yazzinni
Wheeled carriage for a ZPU-1 single-barrel, Soviet-designed 14.5mm AA gun found near the riverbank. For comparison, see here. (Chuck Yannizzi photo) 

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