Haditha, Marine Snipers, Ansar al-Sunnah, and the Greater War

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

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


  • Patrick says:

    I believe they were set up personally. Reports are they returned not 1 bullet in response to incoming fire.
    I do not believe this possible,unless their insertion was previously known to the terrorists.
    They were inserted on rooftops,not mountains or hills as the jihadists stated. Don’t ask me how I know this,I do know it for a fact.
    Not 1 shot fired,they were set up. Either by a fellow Marine or by IA traitors. It may have been IA who murdered them,IMO.

  • Patrick says:

    Further,the terrorists DID take all Marine weapons and dog tags. This included an array of weapons.

  • Something doesnt pass the smell test here. What were two STA teams doing in such close proximity? The video is misleading as in it purports to show men sneaking up a hill to ambush the team. But I don’t know a Scout Sniper on earth who would expose themselves in such a way on a ridgeline.
    It was indeed two STA teams that got hit, you can see the 2 M40 rifles, spotting scope etc in the gear laid out.
    Now it is plausible that they were caught enroute, in say a vehicle or returning from an op, but I really doubt they were caught in the field. And I’ve never heard of two teams opperating so close together as to be all caught at once.

  • Jeremiah says:

    Hi there,
    you may be interested in an article on my blog about the evolving IED battlefield. IED lethality and delivery efficiency have both been escalating in the last two months.


  • Chris says:

    I think this is an unbelievable one.

  • Albert says:

    Yes, We must honor these fallen Marines and all those who have sacrificed in Iraq. well said 🙂

  • STA Team says:

    I personally know one of these guys, and there is no way in hell that they just got shot at and did nothing. These guys were set up by intel. Someone gave up their pos. At least one sniper in these teams was squared away and I expect that they all were. It doesn’t matter much when the enemy has intel as to where you’ll be.
    We should be investigating how these cowards knew where our teams were operating.


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