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During the dark hours of November 8, 2004, two Marine Regimental Combat Teams, RCT-1 (Regimental Combat Team 1) and RCT-7 (Regimental Combat Team 7) launched Operation Phantom Fury along the northern edge of Fallujah, Iraq. The purpose was to drive to the center of the city and route the refugees. The hard-charging Marines soon encountered fierce resistance that was later called, “some of the heaviest urban combat US Marines have been involved in since the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam.”

As the fighting progressed, it inevitably digressed into a series of small-unit battles, won or lost by the brave Marines and the weapons they had on hand. In one battle at a contested bridge, the Marines were in deep trouble – taking fire from small arms, crew-served weapons and RPGs (rocket propelled grenade). Their best defense to keep the enemy away from our troops was their long-range and hard-hitting Barrett semi-automatic M82A3 .50 BMG rifle.

If a weapons system will ever go down, this is the time and something was wrong with the M82A3. When the trigger was pulled there was no response. The Marines were stumped. Looking for answers amid a raging firefight, one of Marines noted a telephone number for the Barrett factory on the cover of their manual. Marines are the best fighting force in the world to assault and hold terrain, and they do also carry cell phones in combat.

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