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Roundup - April 09, 2012

Roundup - April 09, 2012

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Published by RCSouthwest
A wrap up of stories and video from around Regional Command Southwest, Helmand province, Afghanistan, for the week ending April 09, 2012.
A wrap up of stories and video from around Regional Command Southwest, Helmand province, Afghanistan, for the week ending April 09, 2012.

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Published by: RCSouthwest on Apr 09, 2012
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Story and photos by Marine Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr 
 MIRMANDAB, Afghanistan – The sound of bullets slicedthrough the air, enemy grenades and mortars pelted theground near the Marines. Through it all, the Marines ofAlpha Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1stMarine Logistics Group (Forward), continued to press onand complete the mission. “This mission was engineeroperations in direct support of Special Operations TaskForce West,” said Capt. Ryan T. Heider, commandingofficer of Alpha Company. “What we did was bridge a fewgaps that couldn’t be crossed by conventional means. Wealso built a patrol base and a village support platform inorder to allow SOTF-West to push further north.” 
Story and photos by Marine Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez 
 KHAN NESHIN DISTRICT, Afghanistan – Establishing astrong relationship with the local population is critical to anysuccessful counterinsurgency operation. Until recentlyAfghan National Security Forces have been unable to reachthe people in the southern areas of Khan Neshin, Helmandprovince’s southernmost district. Following OperationHighland Thunder, where Marines and sailors of 1st LightArmored Reconnaissance Battalion and 3rd Bn., 3rd MarineRegiment, cleared previously unoccupied areas of KhanNeshin, Afghan Border Policemen have been able to engagewith the population, ensuring their security and safety frominsurgents operating in the area. Afghan policemen with 2ndTolai, 1st ABP Kandak, have partnered with Marines of Alpha Company, 1st LAR, to police and patrolthrough villages where ANSF presence was previously non-existent. 
 
Story and photos by Marine Sgt. James Mercure 
 URMUZ, Afghanistan - Afghan National Security Forcesexecuted a town clearing of Urmuz during OperationSpeargun, March 25 through 30. Located in the southernpart of the Now Zad district of Helmand province, Urmuz hasbeen a narcotics haven for insurgents. Historically, a limitedpresence by the Government of the Islamic Republic ofAfghanistan has allowed insurgents to traffic drugsthroughout the region without reprisal. Coalition forcessupported the ANSF during the 5-day mission. “Thisoperation set the conditions to allow the ANSF to gain afoothold and move into the area,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Trimble,from Louisville, Ky., battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 8thMarine Regiment.
Story and photos by Lance Cpl. Timothy Lenzo 
 FORWARD OPERATING BASE JACKSON, Afghanistan – As coalition forces draw down from Afghanistan andmore Marines return home each month, increasingresponsibility is falling on to Afghan forces. The Afghansoldiers with 2nd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215th Corpsare ready to answer the call. Recently, Brig. Gen. AbdulWasea, commanding general, 2nd Brigade, 215thCorps, Afghan National Army, visited the area to talkwith different Afghan National Security Forces leadersand address the soldiers. Wasea attended a March 29ANSF medic course graduation and checked on theAfghan soldiers. The graduation demonstrates thekandak’s increasing independence and preparednessfor when responsibility in the area falls solely on theirshoulders.
Story and photos by Marine Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot 
 HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The rotor blades arespinning and low chatter is drifting in over the internalcommunication system. The flight crews of the two MV-22BOspreys awaiting takeoff – again – have been flying sincebefore 5 a.m., March 28. It’s late morning now and their dayis far from over. Before the day is done, the crews fromMarine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, known as the “BlueKnights,” will have picked up nearly 40 Marines, sailors andAfghan National Army soldiers from a remote patrol base anddropped them off even deeper into Helmand province,Afghanistan. “When getting ready for an [operation], I’mthinking about prepping the aircraft and making sure ourweapons are clean and ready,” said Sgt. Kyle Harrison, a crew chief with VMM-365 and San Diego native..
 
Story and photos by Marine Cpl. Isaac Lamberth 
 CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - A four-vehicleconvoy travels along the barren desert when the firstvehicle is suddenly struck by an improvised explosivedevice. A Marine in the first vehicle is hit in the face byshrapnel. A Navy corpsman riding in the third vehicle jumps out and pulls the injured Marine from the vehicleand rushes to assess his injuries. The convoy commanderimmediately radios for a medical evacuation. “It’s not liketime stops; it’s not like in the movies where everything isgoing slow,” said Hospital Corpsman First Class DavidEldridge, an ambulance dispatcher for 3rd Marine AircraftWing (Forward). “That patient that you’re with, you build abrotherhood. You do everything in your capability to keep them alive.”
 
Story and photos by Seaman Marlene Houngbedji 
 HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Seabees and AfghanNational Army personnel embarked on their sixth consecutiveday of work on a joint road improvement project. NavalMobile Construction Battalion 11 launched the next phase ofits CENTCOM deployment with an early Tuesday morningbrief inside FOB Dwyer. Several daily briefs later, Seabeesand Afghan National Army personnel embarked on their sixthconsecutive day of work on a joint road improvement project.Seabees assigned to NMCB-11’s DET Dwyer wereintroduced to their ANA counterparts amid recent reports oftensions between Allied and Afghan troops. Undeterred bywhat could have become a considerable obstacle to cooperation, the crew welcomed the opportunity to helpincrease Afghan forces’ self-reliance
Story and photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Monique LaRouche 
 CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – As the coalitionforces of Regional Command Southwest prepare totransition more and more areas to Afghan control, Marinesare training the trainers to develop sustainable leadershipskills. Along with the many discussions of U.S. troopspulling out of Afghanistan, the Joint Sustainment AcademySouthwest, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, is busytraining the Afghan Army with all the skills necessary toprovide safety for the citizens of their country. One of thelongest and most intensive trainings is the Joint OfficersTactical Leaders course. The nine-week course trainsAfghan Army officers to have all the leadership qualitiesthey will need to train their troops and stay in the fight. “Wetrain Afghan officers basic infantry and tactical skills”, said 1st Lt. Duong Dam, officer in charge for theJOTLC. “We guide them to do the right thing.” 

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