South Park’s Stan in Afghanistan: The untold story


Virtually everyone has heard of Flat Stanley, the children’s book favorite who has been photographed all over the world. He’s the star of the Flat Stanley Project, which was launched to teach children how to write letters to each other while they learn about geography.

Marines and soldiers who served in Marjah, Afghanistan, have their own version of sorts of Flat Stanley, I’ve learned. Key difference: instead of the lovable children’s favorite, they went with Stan Marsh, the foul-mouthed South Park character. Consider the following:

Or this:

Or this:

These photographs come to me by way of the troops who served at the Yellow Schoolhouse, a small Marine outpost I visited in spring 2010 while embedded with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. A source serving in the Yellow Schoolhouse at that time says he brought Stan downrange “as a stress-relief comic thing,” and it caught on. No surprise, considering the morale there was pretty good.

Many of those Marines and soldiers serving in Marjah at the time have since left the military, but it’s never too late to share a good joke with the rest of the world. They would have taken Kenny, I’m guessing, but somebody clearly already had killed him.


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. momof2marines on

    Hahahaha! My son was there with the 3/6 as a Morterman and did his tour of the schoolhouse. I wouldn’t put it past him to stick Stan in photographs with a title of ‘Stan does the Stan’ or something equally goofy. The story mentions that many of those guys got out of the Corps and several I know through my son did just that. He made Cpl, re-upped and is at Quantico at the Training Battalion teaching officer’s candidates how to lob a mortar and generally “messin’ with their minds”. Several of his 3/6 brothers that were in Marjah in 2010 are there now in various training positions.

  2. The man who lost half his family(innocent women and children)from American forces in this city would find this to be so humorous, don’t you think? Hey all in the name of America right? And no better spokesman than a cartoon character from a vile and disgusting show. God I love my country! God bless AMERICA. Hoorah!!!

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