America’s Battalion is taking over Northern Marjah.
Second, Battalion, 8th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., has replaced Lejeune’s 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, in Afghanistan, Marine officials said. Marines with 2/9 were preparing to return home as of Jan. 30, according to this Marine Corps news release.
The deployment wasn’t easy for 2/9, but it yielded a variety of progress. The battalion deployed to the same volatile area of operations that Marine Corps Times joined 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, in last May, and suffered a total of 15 casualties.
Marine commanders now tout Marjah as a success story, however. The area was considered peaceful enough that Echo Company 2/9 was pulled away to volatile Sangin in December, spending six weeks fighting insurgents alongside 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., in one of the most violent parts of Afghanistan. Three 2/9 Marines died in Sangin within days of arriving there.
Marines in 2/8 are no strangers to Afghanistan, either. The unit deployed to Helmand province in 2009, pressing insurgent forces in a deployment that lasted from May to November. It also participated in Operation Khanjar, a massive operation in which more than 4,000 Marines took over land along the Helmand River in July 2009.