Photos from a US Marines Raid that Killed 20 Taliban Fighters

Photos from a US Marines Raid that Killed 20 Taliban Fighters

Geoffrey Ingersoll, war-veteran and now freelance journalist and photographer, shared these photos documenting the raid on Lewar Jel Jay. Seeing the first hand account along with the stories that accompany the photos brings into the light the danger our military service men and women face every day.

The idea was to take a company of grunts, about 200, march them through the dead of night to a rendezvous point, rest, and then move on a key supply hub in the middle of fiercely held Taliban territory. A small village, called Lewar Jel Jay, and it was the organizational jump off point for enemy operations in the area.

This is what Marines call, "Company movement to contact."

We patrol out to the village in staggered columns. Every squad must know where other squads are on the battlefield. Already sporadic gunfire rings in the distance.

The 240B medium machine gun fires 7.62 caliber rounds at speeds sufficient to puncture humvee armor. Cpl. Sedrick Hay directs Cpl. Kyle LaMaire to fire on an enemy position within an Afghan compound.

Having cleared the compound of fighters, we continued toward Jel Jay, taking sporadic fire the whole way.

Poppy plants. Incredibly beautiful flowers that yield such a poisonous "paste," as they call it. Beauty is the last thing I'm thinking of, as Rettenberger points out a possible IED.

Poppy plants. Incredibly beautiful flowers that yield such a poisonous "paste," as they call it. Beauty is the last thing I'm thinking of, as Rettenberger points out a possible IED.

We fall in line on top of the hill and start firing down on Lewar Jel Jay. As the rounds fly we can see that last groups of villagers fleeing from the fight.

"The guy in the blue ManJams, hit 'em hit 'em hit 'em!" ('Manjams' denote a one piece garb worn by most rural Afghans.) A Talib fighter has attempted to evade us, but blue doesn't camouflage against this landscape well, and LaMaire nails him.

Now it's just complete hell. All around us, I can hear what Marines call "pops" and "whistles," rounds passing over head, in the air, and hitting the ground in front of us, close calls. Admittedly, I'm on my back, gripping up as much ground as I possibly can.

Two Navy "Docs" struggle to treat Rhoads. His lung has collapsed, and he's still bleeding. The Docs finally use "Gorilla" duct tape, securing gauze to stop the blood flow. They also use a pin, poking it into Mike's chest cavity, to release the pressure on Rhoads' ailing lungs. Later, the doctors who treated Rhoads at the hospital would credit this battlefield action with saving his life.

As they wrap Rhoads in a thermal blanket, I can hear Marines sending coordinates out over the radio, calling for an air Medevac.

Mortar teams move up. In this position, they're firing by eye; it's a what's known as a "hasty" set up, without the base plate or support legs.

On Staff Sgt. Rett's helmet is a "Go Pro," a mini HD video camera a lot of troops wear in combat. The video can aid in investigations, as well as after actions reports—or more often, once everyone's home, just sitting around in a circle screaming "Did you see that?!"

The Marines pull up whatever shade they can find beside truck tires, eat, replace liquids, and pass out. I get up at one point, and I find myself boxed in by a platoon of snoozing Marines.

LaMaire, still filthy from the early morning movement, sits with his 240-Bravo and at least 300 rounds of ammunition. LaMaire's 240 comes with a scope, kind of like a sniper rifle, except Marines use the 240 to take down Talibs as they mount motorcycles and try to move themselves out of range. The muzzle velocity of the 240 extends the range a bit, so Marines can still reach out and touch maneuvering enemy.

Elsie sits and converses with the locals while one of his troops operates the "batt" system. Coalition forces use the system to take a retina photograph—kind of like an eye's fingerprint—to store data in order to identify local citizens. It seems invasive, but even journalists who want to embed have to be entered into the "batt" system.

The locals are patient with the intrusion. The vast majority of Afghan people feel caught in between Coalition and Taliban forces, and mostly just try to mind their own business.

You can see more photos from the raid on the article published by Geoffrey Ingersoll on BusinessInsider.com.

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8 Comments

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

Incredible images, I'd love to see more!

Trevor Dayley's picture

Hi Chris, glad you enjoyed it. The link at the end of the article to BusinessInsider has about 40 more images that Geoffrey Ingersoll shared. Extremely interesting to get a first hand view. 

I wanna see that footage from the go pro!

Zack Williamson's picture

Amazing story, really incredible battlefield photos...can't even imagine what it's like over there.

After seeing this [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo61t5fH6Qw] video detailing Pentax's weather sealing, I'm curious what he's using for a camera set up while embedded. 

Why is there so much edge distortion and stretching? Is it from the software correction?

Personally not a fan of the work, many photographers have covered war in different ways, with both sides of the story, and this is not a journalistic approach as it totally takes a side (note that this was probably the aim therefore hits the spot). I am also not a fan of the propaganda going through the captions, and the kind of negative way to talk about people who are about to be shot dead or killed. I find there are a couple of interesting images in this set, but treatment and composition lacks punch imho. . 

The GoPro is interesting, it shows how war has become a total business, with side products such as the GoPro etc, and it shows how war had become also a "show" for many, such as seeing the footage, analysis is one thing, but I believe it's not only that... That is my personal opinion, and yes I have been in the army as mandatory in my country, and I will agree to disagree with whoever disagrees with me. 

 This was my feeling too.

Dennis Katinas's picture

Nice to see the US army guarding the worlds heroine supply so well....