Reconnaissance Marines gain 'Black Diamond' nickname from Taliban

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Sgt. Zachary Zobrist of Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., engages the enemy during a firefight in northern Trek Nawa, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe/Marine Corps)

The Marines of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion are expected to return this week from Afghanistan to Camp Pendleton, Calif., after a seven-month deployment. They were replaced during a relief in place ceremony at Camp Leatherneck last week with 2nd Recon, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

First Recon deployed in the spring, and was quickly dispatched to areas surrounding the former Taliban stronghold of Marjah. They eventually also played a role in Sangin, where Marines have faced a tough fight in the last few months.

At the time, Marjah district was likely the most dangerous place in Helmand province for Marines, and 1st Recon was called on by Marine commanders to take on the Taliban in the countryside surrounding Marjah. They eventually played a large role in security operations in Trek Nawa, to the east of Marjah. Remarkably, they did not lose a single Marine.

Lt. Col. Mike Mooney, 1st Recon’s commander, and some of his Marines weighed in on the deployment last week, telling a combat correspondent that the Taliban tagged them with a new nickname: “Black Diamonds.”

From the story:

Nothing proves this more than the nickname the Recon Marines received from Taliban fighters — “Black Diamonds”. The name comes from the mount worn on the Recon Marines’ helmets that is in the shape of a diamond. For the Taliban, the Black Diamonds became a force they would avoid at all cost.

“We first heard it over the radio in Trek Nawa,” said Cpl. Micah Fulmer, a reconnaissance Marine with 1st Recon Bn. “It followed us to Sangin and they said, ‘Don’t mess with the ‘Black Diamonds.’”

The Marines of 2nd Recon will continue the same mission, with the same message to the Taliban.

“The enemy is going to know and fear 2nd Recon too. They are not going to know what hit them,” Mooney said. “They are going to know the ‘Black Diamonds’ are in their backyard and it is going to be hell on earth for them.”

It sounds to me like the unit is working to build up that recon mystique. But, what’s wrong with that?

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About Author

I’m a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.

13 Comments

  1. NOT A DAM THING
    Welcome home BROTHERS. THANKS FOR THE JOB WELL DONE>

    The Black Diamond is fantastic and a welcome addition to the Marine Corps History.

    Before my time it was Pappy Boyington and the Black Sheep Squadron

    For me, the 2/1 we were called the Ghost Battalion by Hanoi Hanna.

    SEMPER Fi BROTHERS

    SULLY

  2. I love it!! Kick their ass out of commision,Recon 1 ! Recon 2,
    let God sort them out after you wipe their flesh off this planet ! Swift,Silent,Deadly !! SEMPER FIDELIS !

  3. All you guys are heroes to us common folk! Great job Recon 1! Fricker said it right – God will sort them out as Recon 2 keeps up the fight and sends these coldblooded jackasses to their day of reckoning!

  4. i am not a marine and never served in combat–em USAF medic–hunting exp 7mm Magnum-extensive reloading exp–curious about the rifle Marine is using–is that rifle a sniper rifle? He is kind of exposed–most of the combat pictures I have seen in Afganistan and Iraq seem to be in the desert with no trees etc– so any exposure is dangerous he is a clear shot for the enemy. Hope he is OK–remember these are just my impressions

  5. what wrong with recon mystique? very real danger is to start to believe it and let your guard down. Trust me the area of the Bronx per square mile has more shootings and killings then any combat area I read about– i have no idea if i can or my wife get home with no holes in them–the gangs into this have names and believe their own BS and thats one of their weak point. I dont know if these are appropriate posts on this forum–let me know–i took care of Korean War vets, Viet Nam, and some WW2 vets–i worked in VA hosptals.

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  7. USAF I’m guessing your service was not “vietnam era” the rifle in question is the M-14 standard issue in the 60’s after the M-1 Garand and the M-1 Carbine were phased out.
    The M-14 never really went away in the FMF the Marine firing it is probably at the rifle range (caliber is .308 winchester/7.62×51 mm)

  8. Peter/USAF: Marines particularly recon marines are PROFESSIONALS who quietly go about the business of warfare as needed by the US.
    They really dont require advice on survival from a USAF vet who has admittedly never seen combat.
    Good luck in the Bronx, I’ve seen places in the third world which make the Bronx look like paradise but I never brought my family there.

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  10. I’m not an American.However, I believe that first recon and all the other American, British and NATO forces in Afghanistan deserve all the respect the world can give. I’ve looked up to Americans since I was a kid, especially Marines. I hope all of them come home safely to their families.

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