22nd MEU Afghanistan Recap: Operations THUNDERBALL & CADILLAC RANCH

28 Aug 2004 | Gunnery Sgt. Keith A. Milks

Beginning in late May 2004 and extending into June, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) launched a series of one to three-day cordon and search operations in Afghanistan's Oruzgan province.The goal of these missions, dubbed Operations THUNDERBALL or CADILLAC RANCH, was to locate caches of arms, ammunition, and explosives hidden by Taliban and anti-coalition factions operating in the region, and to deny them what had been historic sanctuaries from which they had long attacked the Afghan government and coalition forces.Elements of Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 6th Marines conducting the missions would usually insert into the target area aboard Humvees and seven-ton trucks from Forward Operating Base Ripley, the MEU's base of operations near the town of Tarin Kowt.Typically, the missions unfolded with a cordon being established around the target area to prevent enemy fighters or supporters from fleeing. With the area surrounded, search elements would be move through the objective.During the course of the operations, Marine infantrymen, aided by combat engineers and at times accompanied by Afghan Militia Force fighters or Afghan National Army troops, discovered substantial amounts of weaponry and detained several individuals suspected of anti-coalition activity or providing support to such elements.More than five THUNDERBALL and CADILLAC RANCH missions were conducted through late June.In addition to BLT 1/6, the MEU consists of its Command Element, MEU Service Support Group 22, and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (Reinforced).This is the eighth installment in an 11-part series chronicling the 22nd MEU (SOC)'s operations and missions in Afghanistan.For more information on the 22nd MEU (SOC)'s role in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, visit the unit's web site at http://www.22meu.usmc.mil.
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit