The Marines of the 3/25 Marine Reserve battalion have taken in inordinate amount of casualties in the fighting in and around Haditha the past several days. Jack details the toll taken by the Marines of 3/25 and their families. Mr. Kelly correctly points out that while the greater casualties were taken in the IED strike on the amphibious assault vehicle, the loss of the sniper teams is of greater import from a military perspective; “The death of the six concerns me more than the destruction of the amtrak. They evidently were ambushed, and had no support nearby.”
There is little information available in open source news on how the Marines snipers were lost. According to the The Dallas Morning News, six Marines were lost, and were operating as 2 separate 3 man sniper teams – comprised a sniper, a spotter and security.
Former Marine [Gunnery and sniper Sgt. Jack] Coughlin said it appeared from their number that those ambushed were operating in two two-man sniper teams with one additional Marine each for security.
Though they were reservists, there was no reason to think they might have lacked the training or equipment regular Marines get, he added. “They’re going to be older, more mature and professionals,” Mr. Coughlin said. Most reservists who are snipers “are police officers, and some of them are SWAT team members,” he added.
Ansar al-Sunnah has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Marines, and claims 8 were killed and 1 captured. Ansar al-Sunnah also released a video purportedly of the assault and subsequent capture of a dead Marine. The video is of poor quality at points, but at the end, it shows what looks to be a dead soldier, US issued weapons, sniper rifles, M-16 with -203 launchers, dogtags, ammunition, a rucksack and other equipment. If the video is accurate the captured Marine died before he could be tortured.
According to the communiqu