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Paratroopers in Action

Discussion in 'Veteran's Forum' started by CarlosDJackal, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. CarlosDJackal


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    Dec 10, 2000
    I thought I'd share this here as well. ^c,13319,usa3_090705.00.html?

    82nd Airborne Beats off Ambush
    Army News Service | September 07, 2005

    LOGAR, Afghanistan - The ambush had just begun when Lt. Robert Williams saw a flash and felt the impact of a rocket-propelled grenade hit the armor plating on the turret of his vehicle.

    The next thing he heard was the body of his turret gunner, Spc. John Marenda, dropping into the vehicle. For a moment, Williams was afraid to look behind him.

    "I was sure he was decapitated," Williams said.

    But Marenda still had his head. What he didn't have any longer was his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, which had been knocked off its mount by the blast. So Marenda improvised. He shouted "I need a weapon," grabbed Williams' M4 carbine, and jumped back up in the turret to return fire.

    "As a platoon leader, you can't ask for a better reaction than that from a Soldier," said Williams.

    Reactions like Marenda's turned what could have been a disastrous attack into a victory when a platoon of 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers beat back a Taliban ambush attempt in the Puli Alam District of eastern Afghanistan Aug. 28, killing one attacker, wounding two, and capturing another.

    The ambush was the fourth attack on Williams' platoon – a part of B Company, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment - since it took over security for Logar province in late August.

    It began as the platoon was conducting a routine night patrol in Puli Alam. The convoy was rolling past a small open area of gardens and trees when approximately eight attackers opened fire with small arms and RPGs.

    The previous three attacks had been hit and run. The attackers decided to stay and fight it out this time, giving the paratroopers a chance to return fire. That made all the difference.

    "I don't think they were expecting us to shoot back," said Williams.

    They were in for a surprise. Instead of driving through the attack, the paratroopers brought their vehicles to a screeching halt and dismounted, returning fire as soon as they could get their doors open. After the previous ambushes, the paratroopers were eager to find those responsible.

    "It was good to be able to throw some rounds back at them finally, although it wasn't with the weapon I would have wanted," said Marenda, who was disappointed he didn't get to fire his SAW.

    Staff Sgt. Anthony "Bam" Purnell's vehicle halted just outside of the kill zone. He and Pfc. Eric Denmark jumped out and began blasting away at every attacker they saw. Sgt. Colt Zesch covered them from the turret. Bullets ripped into the vehicle all around them, and one grazed Purnell's right hand. Despite the wound, Purnell used all six of his M203 rounds and then fired his M4 automatic rifle until it jammed. Unable to clear the weapon with his injured hand, he grabbed an M14 rifle from the vehicle and kept shooting.

    "They did a great job. If they hadn't exposed themselves (to hostel fire), we wouldn't have been able to get (the enemy)," said Williams.

    The firefight lasted between five and 10 minutes, until the overwhelmed attackers withdrew. After waiting for a quick reaction force to arrive and secure the area, the paratroopers went out into the field to examine the aftermath of the battle. They found one dead enemy fighter and another man with no visible wounds lying still on the ground.

    "Ask him if he's alive," the platoon sergeant told an interpreter.

    In fact, the man was alive and unhurt. He had been knocked unconscious by one of the explosions. He was brought back to the platoon's compound for questioning.

    Since then, the man has already given vital information about the Taliban operations in Logar, paratroopers said, adding they are confident he will continue to provide useful information. In the meantime, they are continuing their patrols.

    None of the paratroopers expect the ambushes and attacks to stop altogether, but they're glad the enemy now knows what type of paratroopers they're up against. It may make them hesitate before trying another ambush, said Purnell.

    "They'll second think it now. I guarantee that," he said.
  2. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    Jan 23, 2003
    Central Virginia
    Amazing what unexpected return fire does!!!;f ;f ;f

  3. SW.FLA.glocker


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    Feb 17, 2005
    cape coral fl.
    Always assault the ambush!! Words to live by I would say.
  4. RENEA

    RENEA Black Rifle guy

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    Mar 9, 2005