USMC Operations in Afghanistan: The Beginning of the New NATO Campaign in Helmand Province

This slide show shows a variety of perspectives on the new campaign in Helmand province in support of US and NATO objectives.

Credit for these photos goes to Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs

The first photo shows Marines and sailors from Jump Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and Weapons Company, 2/2, taking cover behind an old deteriorating wall in the town of Laki, in Garmsir District, Helmand for a security shura that had just ended when province, Afghanistan, Jan. 5. The Marines had been providing security a stray rocket-propelled grenade detonated approximately 100 meters away from the shura.

The shura, held inside of a school in the village of Laki, was attended by the Garmsir District governor, Gov. Abdullah Jan, and the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Lt. Col. John E. McDonough.

The shura was concluding when the Marines heard two explosions from rocket propelled grenades followed quickly by rounds from a machine gun. The Marines inside of the compound, where the shura was held, quickly grabbed their gear and charged outside. They ran across a muddied field to a small hill that had been struck by a RPG, a small crater was created and the dried brush near it was on fire.

Within minutes of the initial attack, AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters were circling overhead helping the Marines find where the insurgents were.

The Marines maneuvered on multiple compounds but were unable to locate the exact location from where they were receiving fire. The helicopters left and the Marines began to retrograde back towards their patrol base.

As they passed through a field they came across suspected command wire, which they marked and continued past to continue to clear a compound.

A RPG had detonated less than 5 meters away from a Marine and then fire from a machine gun opened up on their position. The Marines quickly took cover and began to determine where the fire was coming from.

They returned to clearing buildings to find their attackers, but after searching through a few compounds and receiving no more fire, they began returning to base again.

There were no Marine or civilian casualties, the locals were able to return safely to their homes, and the district governor was able to return safely to the District Center.

Photo 2 shows Marines and sailors from Jump Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and Weapons Company, 2/2, charging across a field after Marines, just south of them, were fired upon by insurgents.

Photo 3 shows Garmsir District governor Gov. Abdullah Jan speaking to village elders during a security shura in Laki, in Garmsir District, Helmand province.

Photo 4 shows Capt. Robert G. Williams, left, the air officer for 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and Capt. Matthew J. Kutilek, right, the commanding officer of Weapons Company, 2/2, working together to call in air support while Marines and sailors further down south engage in a fire fight with insurgents in the town of Laki.

Photo 5 shows Lt. Col. John E. McDonough, the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, speaking to village elders during a security shura in Laki, in Garmsir District, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 3. Insurgents attacked Marines and sailors patrolling just south of the shura just as it was ending.

Photo 6 shows Cpl. Alton S. Floyd, a wrecker operator for Alpha Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, resting after working to build multiple makeshift bridges in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 11. During the construction of their last bridge, Alpha Company encountered an improvised explosive device.

Photo 7 shows Marines from Alpha Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, resting after finishing the construction of three makeshift bridges.

Photos 8 and 9 show Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion building a makeshift bridge over a canal in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Photo 10 shows an improvised explosive device detonated after Alpha Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, built a makeshift bridge across a canal in Marjah.

Photo 11 shows Capt. Bill Hefty, the company commander of India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, discussing strategy with soldiers from the Afghan national army through an interpreter in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 5, 2010. India Company arrived at their location in Helmand province by a combination of land and air transportation after securing a landing zone in the Afghan desert.

Photo 12 shows Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment trek down a rocky hill in the desert of Helmand, province, Afghanistan,

Photo 13 shows Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion build a makeshift bridge over a canal in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 11. Alpha Company built numerous makeshift bridges, in order for Marines and vehicles to have a clear route to the Taliban stronghold Marjeh.

Photo 14 shows Soldiers with the Afghan national army salute and pay their final respects to Lance Cpl. Michael L. Freeman Jr., a machine gunner with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, during a memorial ceremony on Patrol Base Masood, in Garmsir District, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 9.

Freeman was killed while conducting counterinsurgency operations in Garmsir District, Afghanistan. “Words cannot describe the respect I have for Lance Cpl. Freeman,” said Capt. Vincent J. Noble, the commanding officer of Company G. “He was a brother. You know he wants us to keep pushing.”

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***Posted February 22nd, 2010

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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