Browsing: Afghanistan

Soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga., an Army post about 90 miles south of Atlanta, were treated to a gargantuan BOOM recently by the Leathernecks who train there. An Army TV news correspondent starts her report by saying the U.S. Marine armor school detachment there,  “made history… by detonating some of the largest explosions Fort Benning has ever seen.” A group of combat engineers was having some fun… er, conducting a training exercise with their mine clearing line charge, known as the MCLC and pronounced mik-lik,  from their assault breacher vehicle and set off the kind of awesome explosion that makes…

[HTML1] Making the rounds today is a video posted on You Tube by Matteroni2 that made us laugh our butts off. It shows a guy screaming in sheer terror on a giant slingshot ride in Orlando, Fla., while his friend tells him “it was worth it just to hear you scream like a little girl.” Apparently the screamer is a Marine, but it’s hard to tell for sure. Before the slingshot hurtles him and his friend into the sky he says he’d rather be in Afghanistan than sitting there on the ride with the anticipation of waiting to take off. …

There are 65 corpsmen assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, in Sangin, Afghanistan, the majority of whom are on their first deployments, and it’s the nature of the beast that many will have seen their first casualties on the battlefield on this rotation. The corpsmen in this picture,  Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alberto Cisneros and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Richard Erfurth, are two of the more experienced corpsmen at the 1/5 Battalion Aid Station. They  are treating Afghan soldiers wounded Sept. 8 in a bombing near FOB Jackson, the 1/5 headquarters in Sangin.  I met them when I was…

Marine Corps Times is a family newspaper and we only rarely have offensive language in our stories. But this week the word “fart” appears in a story I wrote about the importance of trust between Marines and the Afghan national army soldiers they work with. I didn’t want to write this little blog entry about farts. It’s not even on my beat. But my colleague Dan Lamothe, whose byline you have seen here quite often, shamed me into it. “You owe it to all Marines,” he told me. So here’s the news:  audible farting has been banned for some Marines…

Marjah, Afghanistan – It started with two bursts of gunfire outside the Hesco walls of the patrol base, a small square in the center of town at the governor’s compound. Within moments, the 3rd Platoon Marines of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines, were mustered by their vehicles wearing the required uniform: shoes, pants and weapon. It was about midnight. After a quick head count, and a determination that the gunfire had come from unknown activity between Afghan police, the Marines were told by platoon sergeant Staff Sgt. Chad Cada they could stand down and resume their sleep. But something…

Speculation and street talk are part of what goes on “inside the Beltway” in Washington, and today’s rumor has it that Lt. Gen. John R. Allen will take over as commander in Afghanistan whenever Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who has been in charge there since last summer, relinquishes command. The Marine Corps could not confirm the report by former Washington Post correspondent Tom Ricks, who said in his blog “Best Defense” that he had heard of the Allen choice “around town.” If it became a reality, Allen would be the first Marine Corps general at the helm of U.S.…

One year ago today, a group of Marines, U.S. soldiers and Afghan security forces were pinned down in a kill zone near Ganjgal, Afghanistan, a remote village in the unforgiving, mountainous terrain of Kunar province. At this point, the basic details of what occurred that day are well known. Repeatedly denied air support and artillery by officers at a nearby forward operating base, they were left to fend for themselves against more than 100 well-entrenched insurgent fighters. Three Marines and a Navy corpsman were killed on the battlefield, and a U.S. soldier died Oct. 7, 2009, from medical complications that…

Today, Marine Corps Times published online my story outlining the heroism of Cpl. Dakota Meyer, a rifleman and scout sniper who found himself in the middle of horrific ambush in eastern Afghanistan last year that ultimately claimed the life of five U.S. troops. To get that story, I relied heavily on more than 300 pages of sworn witness statements and other documents compiled by Combined Joint Task Force 82, which conducted the investigation in Afghanistan in the days following the Sept. 8, 2009, attack in Ganjgal, a remote village in Kunar province. Even though the documents were already redacted when I…

It’s every Marine’s worst nightmare. Your buddies are pinned down in a kill zone, taking fire from three sides. No help is on the way, and every time you try to assist them, you get turned back by the massive amount of firepower unleashed by the enemy. Cpl. Dakota Meyer found himself in this very situation Sept. 8, 2009. Caught in a battle in Ganjgal, a remote village in eastern Afghanistan, he took matter into his own hands, braving a hail of enemy fire on foot to reach his buddies. Sadly, they were dead when he found them. The battle,…

KABUL, Afghanistan — The end is near. Photographer Tom Brown and I made it here yesterday, arriving on a Canadian C-130 plane from Kandahar Airfield during one of the last travel legs of our six-week assignment in Afghanistan. The flight put an end to a bumpy 36-hour travel process that began at Camp Leatherneck, where we were summoned Saturday morning for an 11:30 a.m. flight from adjacent Camp Bastion to Kandahar, the home of Regional Command-South’s headquarters. Unfortunately, there was confusion somewhere along the way. It became evident that we were dropped off at 9:30 a.m. for a flight that took…

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