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Sentinels Forward

Sentinels Forward

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Published by RCSouthwest
The I Marine Headquarters Group (Forward) monthly newsletter featuring the Marines and Sailors of Task Force Belleau Wood, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
The I Marine Headquarters Group (Forward) monthly newsletter featuring the Marines and Sailors of Task Force Belleau Wood, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.

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Published by: RCSouthwest on Apr 04, 2012
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Serving the families of I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group
   P   h   o   t   o    b   y    S   G   t .   L   A   U   R   A    b   o   N   A   N   o
Every Marine
a Rifeman
Cover Photo: Cpl. Joseph Taylor, with the2nd Battalion 11th Marines hands a waterbottle to a local Afghan child at a villagein Helmand province.
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Dear Marines, Sailors, Civilians, Family Members, and Friendsof I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group,
hope you enjoyed our inaugural SENTINELS FORWARD family newsletter fromlast month, compliments of our superb U.S. Army 350th Public Affairs Detach-ment, which has been supporting us from day one. First Lt. Nixon and histeam have been everywhere both inside and outside the wire so our I MHG familiescan gain a sense of the tremendous work going on out here by your Marines andSailors. We are looking for ways to improve your newsletter and I welcome yoursuggestions on how to make it more enjoyable for everyone back home.We are another month into our deployment here in southern Afghanistanand my sense is that we are hitting our stride and performing at a very highlevel. I am very pleased with the performance of the I MHG Forward staff,companies and battalions. It’s truly a pleasure to watch our Marines and Sail-ors step up to the challenge and perform at a level a rank or two beyond theirexperience. I am proud of the entire team as they demonstrate a strong workethic, maturity, and courage.The “S-Shops” are working long hours with tremendous workloads andshort deadlines. They haven’t missed a beat as we continue to do more withless. The Sergeant Major and I have had an opportunity to spend additionaltime visiting our subordinate units here at Camp Leatherneck, as well as a few outlying forward operating and patrol bases.It is inspirational to see our Marines and Sailors in action, often living inharsh conditions and performing dangerous work. We will continue to get outin the coming weeks to ensure our I MHG units have everything they need formission success.It has been particularly rewarding to work with our assigned security force,2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, led by Lt. Col. Joe Allena, whose commentary youwill read in later pages. The 2/11 Marines are smart, tough, well led, and havedemonstrated tremendous initiative and innovation in the security operationsthey conduct day in and day out in our area of operations. 2/11 is having a tre-mendously positive effect on security in and around our camp. Although notpart of I MHG back in CONUS,2/11 is a fellow Camp Pendle-ton-based unit and we are very pleased to share some “news fromthe war front” with their family members.I MEF Forward under Maj.Gen. Gurganus’ leadership hasnow assumed responsibility foroperations in southwest Afghan-istan and is I MHG’s higherheadquarters.This has also increased ourpace of operations as we work toensure General Gurganus’ staff has all the required support toaccomplish it’s mission. As wehead into the spring, operationswill continue to increase and theweather will turn from cold to hot before we know it. Last week we experi-enced our first major sand storm and we are still cleaning up the fine particlesof sand that seem to get into everything.In closing, I want to thank our family members for providing the supportthat allows us to perform the mission we need to accomplish here in Afghani-stan. The operation is going well and we are achieving success. I recognizethe tremendous sacrifice our families are making, having their loved onesdeployed.I also want to recognize our fine group of family readiness volunteers thatsacrifice their time to make our family readiness program the success it is.Although we will miss attending this month’s “Spring Fling” at the Camp Pend-leton Ranch House, we look forward to hearing about the fun you had andseeing the pictures.
Col. Steven M. Hanson
Commander’s Focus
 April 2012
Sgt. Maj. K Rocquemore
Dear Marines, Sailors, Civilians, Family Members, and Friendsof I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group,
he Marines of I MHG, aka Task Force Belleau Wood (TFBW) have com-pleted their second month of the deployment. Col. Hanson continues tochallenge the unit to be excellent. I`m proud to report the Marines of IMHG/TFBW have accepted.Just like in the first newsletter I feel obligated to say a little something aboutthe Marines and Sailors working in the various sections. Chief April Merrimanhas continued to be a standout performer and epitomizes what we expect inour senior enlisted Navy partners.The Chief and her team of Navy Corpsmen have been a tremendous asset inbuilding morale throughout the unit during the early stage of the deployment.Always ready to lend a helping hand, the integration between the Sailors andMarines is seamless. Our I MHG Corpsmen show on a daily basis that goodleadership is universal throughout our Sea Services.Congratulations to Chief Merriman on her birthday which happens to be thesame day as the Navy Chief`s Birthday.Besides the compound which houses the TFBW staff we have another com-pound that our Marines of Supply spend the majority of their day with.These Marines have done a phenomenal job reorganizing and cleaning thewarehouse and properly accounting for every piece of gear that Col. Hansonis responsible for. Maj. Simmons and Staff Sgt. Chinchilla run a tight ship andhave done a tremendous job with morale in their section.Yesterday I was at the supply warehouse to exchange some uniforms and pickup a few items. It was a pleasure to be assisted by Lance Cpl. Lord and LanceCpl. Figueroa who were a tremendous help, even though supply didn`t have my size blouse (hint) it was a great opportunity to talk with these Marines.It would be unforgiveable if Ididn`t mention Cpl. Crawfordthis month. This Marine has sin-gle-handedly been making anddesigning plaques, shadowboxes,lecterns, picture frames, bridges,etc.The list is endless with proj-ects that I and others have askedthis Marine to do. Cpl. Crawfordstopped by the office today lit-erally covered with sand fromriding a four wheeled “Gator” inthe middle of a sandstorm.I`m not sure what that wasabout, but this Marine can dono wrong in my book. If I couldgive out awards today Cpl. Craw-ford, Staff Sgt. Castilla and Master Sgt. Holiday would be my top three. All of the Marines have been working extremely hard but these three have gone wellabove and beyond.In closing, I would like to assure you that the Marines and Sailors arebeing well taken care of.The American People have been very generous with care packages full of candy, hygiene products and DVDs.I was even told some packages contained I-Pads. (I think that`s an exag-geration but you never know). We hope you have a happy and safe Easter andSpring Break.
Sgt. Maj. Notes
 April 2012

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