As noted here, Maj. Gen. John Toolan turned over the reins of Regional Command Southwest yesterday to Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus, who will lead Marine forces in Helmand and Nimroz provinces this summer.
Toolan has repeatedly praised Mohammad Gulab Mangal, Helmand’s provincial governor for his leadership. The general cited Mangal jumping to action as one reason why Helmand didn’t have the same kind of violent protests other parts of the country did after U.S. soldiers burned Qurans at Bagram Air Base last month.
To thank Mangal and other top Afghan officials for their year-long partnership, Toolan held a farewell dinner last week at the Afghan Cultural Center at Camp Leatherneck. And as you can see in the photograph above released by the Corps, the general threw himself into the mix completely, dressing in traditional Afghan garb and joining others on the dance floor.
A few more photos:
I’d reckon a guess that it’s this kind of familiar relationship that helps on tough days when top Marine and Afghan leaders must circle the wagons.