Rumor untrue: No, the 26th MEU is not in Kandahar


The Daily Herald in Tennessee broke a sad story yesterday: Lance Cpl. Andrew Carpenter was taken off life support and died Saturday at Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany.

To be clear, that’s the most important part of this story. He was married last year, and his wife, Crissie, is more than eight months pregnant, the Daily Herald reported. A rifle round severed his spinal cord after he was shot in the neck, the story said.

That story appears to have sparked a rumor that needs squashing, however. It says Carpenter was shot in Kandahar province, which falls outside Regional Command-Southwest, the Marine Corps’ area of operations in southern Afghanistan. Carpenter is reportedly a member of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is operating in the upper Gereshk Valley in northern Helmand province.

Two Marine Corps Times readers pointed out the Kandahar reference after the Associated Press picked up the Daily Herald’s story and reproduced it for dozens of newspapers to report.

Contacted for additional details, Maj. Gabrielle Chapin told Marine Corps Times that the MEU and its ground combat element — Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines — is not in Kandahar. “That is RC-South,” she said. That regional command is to Helmand’s east and overseen by Army Maj. Gen. James Terry.


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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.

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