1/5 and 3/2 Marines replaced in Afghanistan by 3/7 and 2/4


Members of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, sit together at a small patrol base after a firefight. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Marine units in two of the more volatile districts in Afghanistan’s Helmand province have been replaced in the last few weeks, Marine spokesmen confirmed to Marine Corps Times today.

First Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., and 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., will return to the U.S. following deployments in Sangin and Musa Qala, respectively. Third Battalion, 7th Marines, out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., is now patrolling the Sangin area, while 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, out of Pendleton, mans Musa Qala.

Marines with 3/5 and 3/2 both fought the insurgency in northern Helmand, the last remaining enclave for the Taliban in southwestern Afghanistan.

They’ll have assistance this fall from several other units, including elements of Lejeune’s 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, which is now functioning as a “maneuver unit” in the Sangin area, said Maj. Gen. John Toolan, commander of Marine forces in Afghanistan. For a more complete rundown, check out this recent Marine Corps Times story.


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.


  1. God bless you all Marines and Sailors. Keep up the good fight, keep your heads down and come home safe as we are all so very proud of you.

    Semper Fidelis

  2. Heidi: It means they don’t have a designated “battlespace” of their own to patrol. Generally, they go out on missions and operations instead. There’s a bit more in that story I linked above (which I wrote about three weeks ago after interviewing Maj. Gen. Toolan.)

    More from that story:

    “Marines with 1/6 are “reinforcing our activities in northern Sangin and in areas further north,” Toolan said during a phone interview Sept. 1. The unit “is actually a maneuver element that we will continue to use to put the pressure on the insurgents. The battalion is not located anywhere specific right now. They’re pretty much a free maneuver element.”

    Hope that helps.



    My son is with 2/4 fox. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of our service menbers.

    Stay locked-on and keep your heads down.

    We will see you soon Son.

    Love Dad

  4. Dan…my friend…thanks for all your coverage of the 1/5 these past many months!! As an uncle of a 1/5 sniper I was so happy for ANY news from Sangin …and you provided so much for us back home…God Bless all who serve..and all who cover our beloved service men and women…you rock amigo! !

  5. We love you Alex! Many are pulling for you and your group.

    Be safe. Be smart. Have a little fun:) Like I said. Even in the worst environments there is beauty….and there is love:)

  6. Hey Marc let me hear something from you. I have no idea how to get in touch with you, since you left Camp Leatherneck. All i know is that you are in 3/7 , Company ? Does anyone know how I can get a message to him. Thanks Gary Howard, sr

  7. Gary,

    Contact 3/7 Family Readiness Officer (FRO).

    He will be able to hopeful give you his APO address. If he’s in Sangin, letters are your best bet. Good luck.

    1/5 Dad

  8. I was with 3/7K Co. last year and i just want to wish them the best of luck and get the job done that i know they can do and all of them get home safetly they have family and friends who love them and miss them all..

    3/7 NO SHIT!!

  9. 1/5 internet contact through yahoo messenger…maybe once every couple of weeks and limited to 30 minutes. lots and lots of letters recommended…and get started! takes about 3-4 weeks to arrive in Sangin.

  10. Gary…this was our 4th deployment but first in Afghanistan…favorites we shipped were packages of meat, tuna, chicken (like u would pack in a lunch), beef jerky, wipes, MIOS…drops to add to water to flavor it…big hit…toiletries, carmex…ALL TIME FAVORITE was WAHL hair clipper and little mirror (cordless) we charged it here…I just kept a box and tossed things in it and every couple of weeks we shipped. Letters…we sent pictures, lots and lots of letters, artwork from the little kiddies…ASK ur marine what he needs…all my best. 🙂

  11. My son is with the 3/7 Lima. It will be 2 weeks this coming Monday since I have heard from him. He left Camp Leatherneck at that time. I sure hope I hear from him real soon.

  12. Hey Kathy, I just got a call a few minutes ago from my boy in the 3/7, he said this was his first oportunity to call. I sure hope your son got in touch with you. I know how you feel. I ask him if he need anything, got an e-mail right back in about 5 minutes after we hung up, with his list of things he need. hahaha

  13. Thanks Gary, glad you heard from you son. I sure hope I hear from mine as well. Not sure if he has any internet service to e-mail at all. I’ll be waiting for his call for sure. What do they need over there that we can send. Already sent a care package of junk food. lol My son loves his candy, jerky and cookies. I also sent socks. He had asked for that the last time I heard from him.

  14. Son is with the 3/7 Kilo which just arrived in Sangin…it has been a week now since we last heard from him…emails are returned… he had just arrived on station in Sangin…we all are very proud of their service and appreciate the prayers and letters. I appreciate your pointers on what to expect in regards to communications….

  15. Thanks for the coverage! Please keep the current coverage on the 3/7 coming. I check the site often since my son, a corporal, is part of India company.

  16. To be clear, I meant to say we are not getting email’s returned…which is what others have indicated is the norm…we look forward to next communication. Friends are aware and sending care packages along with letters…we plan to continue regular letters and support via mail…

  17. To be clear, I meant to say we are not getting email’s returned…which is what others have indicated is the norm…we look forward to next communication from our son and appreciate your contined tips…

  18. My son too just arrived in Sangin this past Monday after being at Leatherneck for 2 months. Its hard to not even get the little messages anymore!

  19. Michele…the silence is very very hard. 1/5 has been in Sangin since end of March and the waiting and not knowing how they are…well, what can I say? I kept a journal…and talked there (it helped) I wrote him on yahoo messenger…sometimes with the time difference…he would be able to read his messages in the wee hours of the morning…brought me some peace knowing he was getting them…just sort of made a habit of drawing happy faces and writing I love u…and licking the stamp. Wanted him to know every minute he was loved…and I was there with him every minute in thought. It helped. 🙂 He wanted to talk about home…and things we’d do when he came home…gave him things to look forward to…told me, I didn’t know…LOL. I even cut out 200 red hearts, made yellow bows and threw a letter in the pile and shipped…sending all my love. LOL I sent plastic army men and told him they were the fresh recruits…come home soon…got a reply…army men got scared and ran away…have to stay longer. 🙂 And pray for their safety every day. Hope that helps. This is one of the best resources for info…I even found a video, which I still play with my Marine in it. He’s coming home now, because ur son is filling his shoes in Sangin… I told myself, if my Marine had to be brave and strong, so did I. 🙂

  20. My son also left to serve with 3/7 Kilo Co. Have not heard from him in a week, when he was getting ready to leave for Sangin. You all probably understand the rollercoaster of emotions – worry, pride, fear, prayer… the piece about no news is good news but yet you miss their voice. More prayers at all hours of days and night. Any advice on how to best support them from far, far away would be helpful.

    To those Marines (and their families) from 1/5 and 3/2 who are coming home – God bless you and thank you for your sacrifices and service.

    May God bless our sons and daughters and protect them.

  21. I just want my son Samuel to remember that God is in control and don’t forget His promises Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper;and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.Prise God ,He is powerful .

  22. Peggy- thanks for sharing that information…question–how often did he get to Yahoo Messanger? I understood there was no communication via email or access to internet…am I wrong? thanks again for your son’s service…

  23. Peggy, I got the biggest laugh out of your sending little plastic army men and your son’s response – LOL. Our son is with 3/7 Kilo Co. We anxiously await for some communication from him. I’m so proud of our military men and women of every branch that have served and continue to serve. My prayers go out to all those awaiting their loved ones return….God speed.

    Luli, what is your son’s name? I’ll have to ask my son about him since they’re in the same company….I’m writing a letter to him tonight. And yes Nancy, God is in control! May He be a great comfort to all our guys over there. I love all the many suggestions moms have written in for ways they support their loved ones….keep them coming. Us newbies need all the help we can get. Semper Fi!

  24. Jerry…the internet is extremely limited now (since about May) but, it does exist…I would say on an average…my Marine has access about every two weeks for 30 minutes. The longest I have had to go without any contact (twice) was 30 days. a year ago…another one of my boyz was on there daily…same base. THis week has been a great week…and I have heard from him 3 times…rare…very rare! Suppose to hear from him later today…and I gotta tell u that is a maybe…cause sometimes it all changes while they are online…but, when he makes contact, I will ask him to pass a message to 3/7 Kilo to let HOME know they are there and okay. 🙂

  25. My husband sez I should share how I knew the 1/5 was safe without internet contact…if u choose to use it. I have been told it is morbid…but there was a reason behind my madness. There is another site on the internet…type in afghanistan casualties…the Washington Post maintains the site. And it is extremely up to date and accurate for the most part. under HOME is usually reports daily of what is happening in Afghanistan and WHERE. If there is a casualty…it will post WHERE it is…in other words NOT HELMOND!!!! At least u know ur sons and daughters are SAFE. They do not release names for a couple days…but if u click on PROVINCE and look at the map u the count is instant. Again…u know ur son/daughter is safe. It does not post with any regularity injuries…but it does tell of the major incidents. I will warn u, it is a little disturbing noting HELMOND is by far the hottest area…but, I would tell u it has calmed down greatly since JUNE. Hope that helps…for me, it allowed me to breathe a little easier at night in the silence. I was not looking for my Marine’s name on the casualty list…but, it does tell province, and which unit and branch of service. I, in no way, wish to upset u with the information…my husband thought others might find the information useful and a comfort.

  26. Renee Van Arsdale on

    My son is in 3/7 and I have not heard from him since he arrived in Afghanistan. Last deployment Motomail was best form of communication to him and he really appreciated it. He could occasionally call me. So I really recommend you send word to your Marine through Motomail.com website. It is a wonderful morale booster to them and private. You need your son’s AP address and you can get that from the 3/7 Family Readiness Officer if you do not have it. My prayers are with the 3/7 Marines! God bless returning Marines and their families from 1/5 and 3/2!

  27. Hi Kathy, When I talked to Marc, he ask for the follow. Socks, boxers, Roman Noddles and Gater Aid. I have a Wal-Mart Gift Card that someone give me. I think ill send it for a joke. I hope it gets a smile from him.

  28. Hi all,,,

    I enjoyd a 20 min conversation with my son from 3/7 last night…he did tell me thing are good at his outpost. They do waid into chest-high swampy conditions kinda like jungle daily, and go days or so without shower….but the 1/5 did a great job ..at great sacrifice..and now the 3/7 is continuing the relationships and on guard in this area. He and his mates appreciate the prayers and attention including of course, the packages. It is starting to get a bit colder so he asked us for an insert for his sleeping sack. we are getting him an REI flease insert.. By the way, thanks to all for the input and prayers…He said packages and mail arrive around every 14 days or so…I expect we may hear at least every 10 days or so…

  29. Here is a list of things our son mentioned would be of use:

    In our conversation, he also asked for things to hand out to the little afghan village kids. Besides candy (which the kids constantly ask for), they love ink pens. He said to send anything a little kid would like. Keep items simple & cheap that the guys can easily carry with them when patrolling. Most of the box stores (Walmart, Target, Big Lots, etc.) clearance seasonal candy & kid stuff, a good time to buy on the cheap.

    For the guys

    Cold medicine (capsules) Tylendol, Theraflu, Nyquil, etc.

    Ramen noodles, Mac n cheese, instant oatmeal

    Fruit cups (applesauce, mandarine oranges, pears, etc)

    Shaving cream

    Shower gel (travel size)

    For the kids (NO electronics)

    ink pens (Mark says the kids love them)

    sm notepads

    easy coloring books

    sm pks of crayons (8 per box size)


    bouncy balls

    sm plastic cars

    tootsie rolls

  30. My son is with the 3/7 K Co We are so proud of him! I have been sending him messages via motomail. Haven’t heard from him since he has been in country. But know how those things go. Keep your head down Don! We love you!

  31. Hang in there Leah. Last Wed. was the first time we heard from him, 3/7 K since leaving Camp Leatherneck. He said things were somewhat quiet at their patrol outpost, though he said they needed to be helo’d in/out since roads not so safe….sounded like they get a break every 10 days or so to the main base to get shower, catch up on email, hot meal, etc…he said it’s taking about 14 days to receive packages/mail….Will mention Don when we hear next from our son, Mark.

  32. Heard from our son last night. Said all is well with 3/7K. They are in 2 outposts but could not give specifics other than close to Mazak and FOB Shamshir, in Helmand. Was good to hear they are all doing well. Patrols on going and interaction with locals seem to be going safely. He did say only a couple packages have arrived, so I suspect earlier input was more correct that it takes at least 3 weeks for packages. Was very good to hear his voice….hopefully others are able to get updates from their sons with 3/7 K also.

  33. My son with is with the 3/7 Lima Co, have not heard from him since he left Camp Leatherneck Sept 26th, not very long but still…… He knows what he is doing but for the last 21 years 11 months I knew he was safe. So far have sent about 6 boxes, a dozen letters and just waiting to hear back.

  34. Thanks for the support Jerry P., and Rhonda D I know how ya feel…still have not heard from Don but understand things may be intense. I did get one email when they first got to Leatherneck. Hate to leave the house in case I miss his call. We live in rural Indiana and the cell service is awful. Anyway, I am pray for all of 3/7

  35. Leah; spoke with our son today and he said he did not know Don, but that there were 170 in Kilo Company, and severeal of the Marines do not maintain regular contact with loved ones at home once they get into their operational bases for what ever the reasons. Keep praying for all as we do…

  36. I wanted to also add that since these calls are being sent to the US from various locations on various lines, you may want to answer “all” calls comming in, just in case, even if you do not recognize, say “US Govt.- Hawaii” on the caller ID….our daughter did not answer since she did not recognize…now she knows it was her brother trying to reach her. We got one yesterday from Hawaii from our son…

  37. My son is in 2nd platoon, 3/7, Kilo…not sure of the H&S or CAAT RED Denise mentiones…..he did say they are operating near ATULL PB…it is difficult to get exact logistics for obvious reasons…some of these may not be listed…I could not find this one, but it is somewhere near Shamshir, I believe. We just received first letter today, which he sent out 3 weeks ago…

  38. My grandson is in the 2/4 in musa qala, his name is Jordon Dorrance, anyone know him? If you can get through to him, tell him how much I love and miss him. Christmas is coming up soon, and we have heard it takes 4-5 weeks before they get there packages. So if your sending get them out soon. If you know anything about what’s going on could you let me know? Thank you

  39. Claudia- have you tried to “Google” his outfit, the 2/7? Also, try Facebook for same. You also need to know a bit more such as which unit he is in..for example, 2/7 Marines, “Kilo” (or what unit is he in?)… I know we found our son’s on both with this additional information…there were pictures on Facebook, and lots of information on Google, both current and historical which helped educate us. His unit likely has a weekly update published by one of the senior officers also, which is good to read….Good luck and Merry Christmas and God Bless your son…also to you…

  40. Jerry, thanks so much for your reply, as I just read it I will get that other information you told to get. I’ll get back and let you know what I was able to find out. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Will your sons be home for the holidays? What a gift that would be.

  41. I forgot to tell Jerry, we lost one of our dearest boys, best, the best friend of my grandson Jordon. He stepped on an IED, 4 days before Thanksgiving, but wasn’t able to be home in Danville, California till almost 2 weeks later. Why so long? But he is here now and was so honored by about 5,000 residents of Danville. His name was Joshua Corral (ChaChi) and only 19 yrs young. I was so scared for Jordon and how he would be able to cope with this tragedy. He called home to his parents quite abit and they said he was doing better and better. I hate this conflict.

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