first published on March 22, 2016 by Will
The newly established U.S. forward operating base at which Marine Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin was killed and several other Marines were wounded on Sunday, has just come under ISIS attack again.
The base, located near the town of Makhmour, about 50 miles southeast of Mosul, is being called “Firebase Bell,” and was supposed to be a secret. However, ISIS had eyes on almost immediately, and now the American position has found itself under repeated attacks by the terror group. This time, a squad-sized group of Islamic State insurgents attacked with small-arms, direct-fire weapons, but no friendly casualties were reported.
Firebase Bell’s purpose is to provide security for the nearby Iraqi troops who are amassing for the offensive on Mosul, the Islamic State’s capital in Iraq. The siege on the city is expected to be the largest battle to date in the war against ISIS. The Marines stationed there are not part of the official headcount of 3,800 U.S. troops in Iraq. These off-the-books troops, and others like them in different locations, are estimated to put the actual American service member count in Iraq somewhere around 5,000 strong.