Saturday, March 22
In the Field : Marines Lay Their Hands on a 'Jewel'
onathan Finer, Washington Post Staff Writer, March 22, 2003; Page A01
RUMAILA OIL FIELD, Iraq, March 21 -- The Marines needed a loudspeaker, a few warning shots and less than an hour this afternoon to seize what commanders called a "jewel in the crown" of their initial thrust into Iraq, a key facility in one of the world's richest oil fields.
The oil complex, the precise location of which commanders asked not to disclose, fell without a death on either side. On their first day in the war, troops from the 1st Marine Division faced sporadic small arms fire and took 25 to 30 prisoners of war and 34 civilian detainees.
"I'm absolutely overjoyed because I have the same number of Marines I started with, everyone's in one piece and the objective has been achieved," said Lt. Col. Christopher Conlin, commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. "This was the main objective for this portion of the ground war." [...]