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..