“Bloody Monday” Firefight, 2 May 05

Quite a while ago, I posted a short video showing a daytime firefight at Trash OP.  At the time, I didn’t know any of the details surrounding it.  I also made some comments, based on my own observations.  Here’s that post; Firefight at Trash OP.  The video’s pretty good, so I suggest you see that first, then come back here…

maxwell at trash op
Cpl Luis Maxwell

Thanks to Jason Ellis and a few other Marines, I now have much more info on this engagement.  First off, now I know the Squad Leader was Cpl Luis Maxwell in India’s 1st Platoon. Based on what I saw in the video, I made positive comments about the way he was handling his end of the fight, so its good to know who that was.

Also, now I understand this shootout was much longer than the video portrays. Firing went on for hours and thousands of rounds were expended.

Finally, this was just part of other events going on in Husaybah on May 2nd.  Foreign fighters of Zarqawi’s AQI had murdered and beheaded the new Police Chief, trying to intimidate the local militia of the Albu-Mahal tribe–sometimes called the “local muj” by the Marines.  Which is why in one of my my draft chapters, I call 2 May 05 “Bloody Monday”.  Other violence was also occurring in the city (see a chapter excerpt at the bottom of this page).

me with the western pic of the saw
Jason Ellis, and his SAW named “Boondock”

Anyway, here’s an entry from Jason Ellis’ combat journal, which he’s shared with me. He kept written details of the firefights he was involved in, and gave me permission to post this.


May 2 – Trash OP

At Trash OP, 2nd Squad with attachments took contact. The attachments were LCpl Carnes, Butcher, Pale and CAAT [Section from WarPig1].  Pvt Fitzgerald was with CAAT.  At 8am we took a few pop shots at our post.  Roughly at noon we took full contact to our post.  Cpl Maxwell had all the SAW gunners get online, me being one of them, and fire into the house that we were getting contact from.  We opened up with a 30-round burst. 

After we hit the house we received more fire. You could here the enemy’s rounds whizzing over our heads.  Then we were in a full firefight.  Everyone was unloading on all 12 of the house we were taking fire from.  Fitzgerald was on the .50cal, he unloaded hundreds of rounds into the house.  The Mk19 was on the CAAT HumVee, they started launching HEDP at any target that presented itself.  

At times, I was firing 100 bursts at the enemy.  It got so bad that we were running out of ammo.  The AAVs had to bring more ammo out to us in the middle of the firefight.  By the end of the 6-hour firefight none of us were wounded or hurt.  We couldn’t say the same for the enemy.  The total amount of rounds that were shot were 7,000 5.56mm, 80 HEDP out of 203s, 200 .50cal rounds, 200 HEDP out of the Mk19.  I alone fired 2000 rounds out of my SAW.  Halfway through the firefight, the .50cal went down and was taken out of the battle.  The Mk19 also went down, but they got it back up.  There were so many targets to engage that it was insane.  

–Jason Ellis


This is a section from my draft chapter, ‘Ramana’, that briefly discusses May 2nd, 2005 and the violence that occurred in Husaybah.  I’ll be revising it slightly to mention this extended firefight at Trash OP.  

Bloody Monday

The 2nd of May was a particularly volatile day, and in hindsight seems to have been the precursor for other developments.  Although available sources are limited and indirect, they portray the picture of AQI flexing its muscle and local forces starting to push back.  

That Monday in Husaybah, Ahmed Adiya Asaf walked openly among the shoppers and merchant stalls along Market Street.  He had recently been installed as the city’s new Chief of Police, with the rank of Major. He was a well-connected Mahawali, and by placing him into this position the tribe was showing it would bring security to the area, on their own terms, not as puppets of foreign-born radical ideologues.  

But Major Ahmed’s connections weren’t enough to protect him.  Suddenly, seven men emerged from the crowd and attacked him, shooting him dead on the street, then publicly beheading him.  News of the gruesome murder pulsed through the population like a shockwave, a blood-spattered announcement of the costs of resisting AQI. Yet there were those ready to resist, meeting violence with violence.

Behind their fortifications at Gannon, India Company had limited awareness of what was happening in the streets that day, but received reports of red-on-red fighting in and around the city. A large group of armed men was spotted, and a Cobra/Huey team was dispatched.  Upon arrival over the city, the helo crews reportedly monitored a firefight between two armed Iraqi groups. At one point, the helicopters themselves took ground fire and the Huey was damaged seriously enough to make a temporary emergency landing.

Looking back through the prism of time, it now appears the fight between the tribal forces of the Albu Mahal and the foreign fighters of AQI was intensifying just as Operation Matador was about to kick off.  This would have implications for the upcoming mission, subsequent operations by 3/2 and for the further development of relations with tribal leaders.

–Ajax

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s