As the sun set on 12 August, the Marines of 1st Platoon, India Company were manning battle positions at the ING compound. Behind layers of sandbags and ballistic glass, they looked over their gunbarrels into the restive city of Husaybah. Squad Leader, Cpl Luis Maxwell, had just checked one of the rooftop positions and commented to another Marine, “This has been a slow day. I wish we had something to do.” Just as he turned away, an RPG round slammed into the building just below the battle position, immediately followed by withering enemy machine-gun fire.
This began an hours-long fight that would severely test the compound’s defenses and the courage of 1st Platoon Marines. Unlike previous firefights at ING, this one featured a very disciplined and determined enemy . The attackers showed good tactics, using fire* and maneuver to get very close, trying to penetrate the compound. Clearly a new brand of bad guy was in town.
August 12th marked the beginning of a ‘surge’ of foreign fighters into Husaybah that continued until 3/2’s departure in early September. During that time, Zarqawi’s AQI made an all-out effort to take over the city and punish the Albu Mahal tribesmen that had been loosely cooperating with India Company. Many dramatic and important events happened in those last few weeks, which I will be covering in the book.
I’m currently piecing together those events, starting with the 12 August firefight. Several India Marines have given me their accounts, but I could use more. If you were there that night, or supported the fight somehow, I’d like to hear your story. Also, if you can help refine my map of the ING compound, that would be very useful.
*At one of the ING gun positions, a slab of ballistic glass took multiple MG rounds, which nearly penetrated it. That ballistic glass (from an uparmored HumVee door) is now displayed at 3/2 headquarters on Camp Lejeune.
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I SERVED WITH 3/2 1976