Lest We Forget

Marines await Taliban move in deadly Afghan valley

…Sangin was the deadliest district for the coalition in Afghanistan last year, according to NATO. The British lost over 100 troops here in four years of fighting — nearly one-third of their deaths in the war — and when they handed Sangin over to the Marines in September, the Taliban effectively controlled almost all the district.

The Marine battalion currently in Sangin arrived in October and together with smaller units attached to it has waged over 500 firefights and sustained over 30 deaths, with another 175 wounded, many from homemade bombs hidden in fields and mud-walled compounds.

In November, when this reporter was last in the district, insurgents were repeatedly attacking the main base next to the district center, and even in the bazaar, considered the safest place in Sangin, Marines had to throw smoke grenades to thwart snipers.

The coalition responded by boosting Marine and Afghan force numbers by about 50 percent. The Marines in Sangin have also waged a fierce campaign of airstrikes, dropping at least 50 500-pound bombs, firing 30 Hellfire missiles and unleashing over 100 helicopter rocket and gun attacks.

“It has taken us killing hundreds of Taliban and suffering a lot of hard hits, but we literally go anywhere we want in the battle space now,” said Lt. Col. Jason Morris, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment currently in Sangin.

Also, the Afghan government has struck a deal with tribal elders in northern Sangin not to attack coalition troops, though there’s no guarantee it will hold.

The Marines see signs that the Taliban are feeling the pressure. “Taliban leaders in Pakistan have called commanders back and chewed them out, saying ‘Go back up there and be a man and get your jihad on,’” said Morris.

I’m sure those L/Cpls are saying, “C’mon down! The water’s fine…

Stay as safe as you can, Marines ~ GET SOME and Semper Fi!!

On a personal note, I’d like to ask you all to send warm thoughts out to our buddy Major Skyler, who’s JUST arrived in country for another tour with his Marines. He’ll let us know if they need something.

We need to let them know they MEAN something.

6 Responses to “Lest We Forget”

  1. Gary from Jersey says:

    Put me on the mailing list, Maj. Skyler.

  2. major dad says:

    Oooh Rah, get some, get a lot!

  3. nightfly says:

    Bless your fighting hearts, Marines. Every one.

  4. Yojimbo says:

    God’s speed and good shooting.
    Stay very very safe, every one of you.

  5. Kathy Kinsley says:

    Skyler – thank you and bless you and all those who serve with you.

  6. Skyler says:

    Sadly, I’m not in Sangin, but one of our companies will be shortly.

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