|Close Combat: First To Fight Background Story
September 9, 2004 | Tuncer Deniz
Present DayBeirut, 2006
For the last year, several groups of insurgents have taken quiet control of sections of Beirut and the surrounding areas. The largest, best-organized and best-funded of these groups is the radical Atash movement, led by Tarik Qadan, a local religious zealot of considerable influence.
The current Prime Minister of Lebanon, an impressive, strong-willed man, has kept the situation in check. Still the insurgents remain, and wait for their opportunity to strike.
Now that opportunity has come. The Prime Minister has left the country to seek medical care in the United States. Almost immediately, his aides begin to bicker among themselves and lose control over much of the Lebanese Army based in the city. In a rapidly deteriorating situation, Atash begins stepping up attacks within the city. This continues until Akhbar al'Soud, a Lebanese Colonel, takes command of the militia in Beirut and declares martial law in the city. Shortly after al'Soud takes control, large battles begin between the radical and militia forces, as they vie for control of the city and the country. Much of the fighting occurs in and around the Grand Serail, the Prime Minister's official home and the symbolic seat of government in Lebanon.
The Unites States and NATO decide the time for intervention has come. A joint operation, called Operation Preserve Peace, is begun, spearheaded by US Marines. With only small skirmishes and no casualties, the vital Beirut airport is quickly brought under US and NATO control. Shortly after, the Marines take control of the area around Beirut's main port, El Karantina, and establish El Karantina as their primary base.
As a fire team leader in the 28th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), your battle has just begun.
Your UnitThe 28th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), floating in the Mediterranean, is nothing less than lethal. Well trained, well armed and well equipped, the MEU (SOC) is capable of sustaining all out warfare, in any environment, for over 30 days without re-supply. Moreover, this force was certified Special Operations Capable. It is expert in heliborne assaults, maritime raids and MOUT – urban combat. A MEU (SOC) is the United States’ 911 shock troops.
Built around a Marine infantry battalion, the MEU is a self-sufficient, task-organized force that includes organic armor, artillery, air and supply support. Amphibious track armor and hovercrafts ensure the Marines can breach any beachfront. The massive CH-53E Super Stallion Heavy Lift helicopters, CH-46E Sea Knight Medium Lift helicopters, and the UH-1N Huey Utility helicopters provide combat assault over-the-horizon reach for strikes deep into the heart of an enemy's country. The lethal AH-1W Attack Cobra helicopter and AV-8B Harrier provide close air support for the Marines on the ground.
The individual Marine is protected with the latest carbide augmented Kevlar body armor and armed with an M-16 A4 automatic rifle equipped with day and night sighting optics that allow the average Marine to hit his target at 600 meters, day or night. Add the latest in sophisticated communications, GPS, and night-vision goggles, and these Marines are ready to face any foe, any time.
Almost as important, these Marines also know their history. Every Marine does. Each Marine has learned the heroic accomplishments of those who have gone before and feels compelled not to let their brethren down. Rich in tradition, each Marine enters battle at the very tip of the spear, with the weight and reputation of being the most feared shock troops on the planet.
Trained in asymmetric warfare and free of U.N mandated ROEs that guaranteed earlier failure, these leathernecks are ready for battle. They have trained, trained and trained again at the urban combat facilities hidden among the hills about Camp Pendleton. They ran endlessly through the shoot-house drills until all could distinguish friend or foe instantly. Now, they are ready. The Marines and Sailors of the 28th MEU have returned to The Root.