U.S. Soldiers and the Afghan National Police worked together to perform a night raid on three compounds suspected of Taliban activity in the Maiwand District of Afghanistan Nov. 22.

Members from Company H (Hawk Co.), 3rd Squadron, 2nd Striker Cavalry Regiment and the ANP found weapons, bomb-making materials and brass casings from spent ammunition. One of the compounds also appeared to be a staging point for enemy attacks.

The operation began when several insurgents were spotted by surveillance attempting to place an improvised explosive device, said 1st Lt. John Sowder, Hawk Co. 1st platoon leader. A Joint Direct Attack Munition, a 500-pound, laser-guided missile, was dropped on their location.

Wounded insurgents were seen fleeing the blast site to a nearby compound, and Hawk Company's quick reaction force was called in to investigate.

"At first we didn't think we found anything," said Sowder, a Front Royal, Va., native.
Sowder said that as they were leaving, Pfc Casey Roberts, a M240B heavy machine gunner, peeked in the door of a supply shack and found an RPK machine gun wrapped up in sheets and placed in a corner.

"As soon as I saw it, the first thing I thought was 'security, security, security,"' said Roberts, a Picayune, Miss., native. "We were letting those guys go. I didn't want them to rush us out of their house, grab something we didn't see and give us hell."

Soldiers and the ANP searched the compound from top to bottom and found recently bloodied rags and explosive-making materials, said Sowder.

Security was left at the first site to wait for explosive ordinance disposal while another squad and ANP were sent to search the remaining compounds for the other wounded insurgents.

More homemade explosive-making materials were found in one of the other compounds and brass ammunition casings were found at another. The area was suspected of being a staging point for small-arms attacks and other insurgent activity, said Cpl. Raymond L. Lamb, a team leader with Hawk Co.

After securing the compounds, Hawk Co. went to investigate the blast site where they found digging tools and a blood trail leading back to the compounds.

The wounded insurgents are suspected to have escaped by vehicle, but the mission was still considered a success, said Sowder.

"They're going to think twice before laying an IED in that area again," he said. "They're going to have to modify how they operate. Anytime we can set them off their game it makes it safer for us and the community."