Posts Tagged Helmand

Attack on Camp Bastion: The Destruction of VMA-211

From: Defense Media

The attack on Camp Bastion began at around 10:00 PM local time, when about 20 Taliban fighters approached the perimeter, disguised in U.S. battle dress uniforms. One of the Taliban used his explosive suicide vest to blow a hole in the perimeter fence, which reportedly allowed three five-man sapper squads into the secured areas of the base. Armed with AK-47s, RPG-7s and explosive suicide vests, the Taliban fighters flooded into the U.S. area known as Camp Barber.


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Maj. Samuel Griffith, USMC – Killed in Afghanistan

Maj. Samuel Griffith, USMC

Maj. Samuel Griffith

Maj. Samuel Griffith, a former F-18 driver with VMFA 533 and volunteer FAC (forward air controller) was killed in action In Helmand Provence Afghanistan on Dec 14th 2011.

More  here, here, and here

Maj. Samuel Griffith

Maj. Samuel Griffith VMFA- 533

Maj. Samuel Griffith

Maj. Samuel Griffith in Afghanistan

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Shura with villagers July 23 at US Marine Patrol Base Salaam Bazaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan

Now Zad District Governor Said Murad Sadtak hangs his head during a shura with villagers July 23 at US Marine Patrol Base Salaam Bazaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The Afghan government officially took control of security in the capital of Helmand last month, as Western influence wanes. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

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Soldier from 4 SCOTS killed in Afghanistan

From: MOD

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that a soldier from The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS), was killed in Afghanistan, yesterday, Friday 3 June 2011.

Ministry of DefenceMinistry of Defence

The soldier was fatally wounded by insurgent gunfire while on a security patrol in the Lashkar Gah District of Helmand Province.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick, said:

“It is with much regret that I have to inform you of the death of a soldier from The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, in the Pupalzay area of the Lashkar Gah District of Helmand Province.

“The soldier was on a partnered patrol with the Afghan National Police to reassure the local population when his unit came under attack by rifle, Rocket Propelled Grenade and indirect fire from insurgents, during which he was fatally wounded. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Next of kin have been informed and have requested a period of grace before further information is released.


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FET works with Now Zad District governor to improve, rebuild area


Female engagement team in Now Zad, Helmand province, Afghanistan

Maj. Aniela K. Szymanski, the Civil Affairs Group team leader in Now Zad, Helmand province, Afghanistan, greets the deputy district governor, Haji Saied Abdul Quyum, at his compound, April 8. The meeting between Szymanski, Marines with the Female Engagement Team, and the district governor, Saied Murad Sadat covered the growth of the Now Zad women’s center, the local schools and other upcoming community improvement plans.

Story and phots by Lance Cpl. Katherine M. SolanoSmall RSS Icon

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – The female engagement team in Now Zad, Helmand province, Afghanistan, is pushing for the speedy development of a women’s center, new school and other community projects.

In an effort to move the plans along, the Marines and their interpreter met with the district governor, Saied Mourad Sadat, at his compound, April 8.

They have made progress in the short time they have been here, but acknowledge there is still a long way to go.

“I wish things would work short term, but everything takes a long time to accomplish,” said Sgt. Habiba Abida, a team leader with FET 12, Now Zad. “It’s hard to give yourself deadlines for certain goals.”

The focus of the meeting was largely on the efficient development and management of the women’s center, but also on the female population in Now Zad as a whole.

“I’ve heard FET go and talk to females and ask what problems they have,” Sadat said. “Then [FET] comes and tells me what the women said so I can help, and it is positive for Now Zad and its people.”

Staff Sgt. Martha Warren, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Regimental Combat Team 8 FETs, asked the district governor what specific problems women in his district were having.

“There is nothing for the widows,” Sadat replied. “We are in the process of getting [females with skills] to work and teach each other to provide for themselves.”

Warren, of Stone Park, Ill., also asked what specific impact FET was having on the local community.

“FET is a very good thing, because for the past five years with the war, lots of people have lost everything,” Sadat stated in response. “Females should know how to take care of themselves and their children.”

This is one of the main objectives of FET: to give women the skills and knowledge they need to make a living for themselves or to help support their husbands and families.

“Females are important, because a lot of families here are poor,” Sadat said. “Husbands go to the Taliban for work, but if the wives can teach husbands to work with the government instead of with people who are trying to destroy the country or villages, it will be good.”

They also discussed the hiring of a custodian for the women’s center, and how to teach local woman skills such as agriculture and sewing.

“I would love to say that by my first [mission break] I will have a full-time custodian at the women’s center, chickens for the coops, and sewing machines so the women could sew uniforms for Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan public schools,” said Abida, an Arlington, Va., native.

Abida felt that progress was made, and plans to meet in the near future to continue discussions were set. The district governor closed the meeting with an invitation for the FET Marines, and others with their unit, to join him for a dinner at his compound later that evening.

The dinner included a bonfire, traditional Afghan meal, music and hookah, but little talk of business. The dinner was more about a celebration of the growing working relationship between the Marines and the people of Now Zad.

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Tactical Combat Casualty Care

From: IDGA

Tactical Combat Casualty Care

LT Brian Ellis of the 3rd Medical Battalion discusses Pre-Deployment Medical Care at IDGA’s Battlefield Healthcare event.  He details advances in pre-deployment medical training specifically relating to tactical combat casualty care.  He talks about adaptability on the ground and teaching deployed medics on the ground to adapt training and supplies to get the mission accomplished.  He gives experiences from Helmand Province, Afghanistan.


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Patrol near Checkpoint North in Helmand province

Lance Cpl. Dustin Thompson, a radio operator with Firepower Control Team Alpha, 1st Brigade Platoon, 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, sits in an irrigation canal with Cpl. Tim Barney, a forward observer with FCT-A, during a patrol, Sept. 23, near Checkpoint North in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The patrol took the soldiers and Marines through fields of crops and through waist-high irrigation canals from the checkpoint down to another U.K. post known as Tapa Parang and back up to the checkpoint. Photo by Cpl. Aaron Rooks

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Female Marines Make Combat Patrols

The official US MC policy is that females may not serve in the Infantry, Armor, or Artillery units. That policy has been altered to allow Female Marines to accompany patrols into the Afghan countryside in order to communicate with the local men and women in ways that local customs do not allow their male counterparts to accomplish.

Cpl. Christina Oliver, center, and other female Marines attached to a male battalion patrolled recently in Helmand Province.

From: New York Times

MARJA, Afghanistan — They expected tea, not firefights. But the three female Marines and their patrol were shot at late on a recent day, when a burst of Kalashnikov rifle fire came from a nearby compound. The group hit the ground, crawled into a ditch and aimed its guns across the fields of cotton and corn.
more from NYT

Audio Interview with VMI grad, Capt. Emily Naslund. CO of the Female Engagement Team in Helmund Province Afghanistan.

From: CNN Blog

Naslund and some of the other 39 women of the patrol are featured in a recent article by The New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller. They patrol various areas, including Marja, Afghanistan. “You’ve got 19- and 20-year-olds walking around in the world’s most dangerous place, knowing what could happen to them, and they’re willing to do that anyway, and they’re willing to do that with passion,” Naslund told the Times. This mission, she added, “is going to be the highlight of my life.”

More on female warriors in Afghanistan from NYT:

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Sangin, Afghanistan: Taliban stronghold, “Afghanistan’s Fallujah”

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent

“I’d tell anyone now don’t come here because I’d never want to come here again,” one soldier told me this summer at a Sangin patrol base hemmed in by all sides by insurgents.

“This place is different to anywhere else; really it’s a Taliban stronghold,” he added.

The town is likely to remain a Taliban redoubt because it always has been and there is little desire, or resources, to tackle Sangin’s problems. The centre for the narcotics trade and a hub for warring tribes the complexities of Sangin’s problems are deep.

But the town is also the testing ground for the Taliban where an average of 400 external fighters come each year to “earn their stripes” and the fighting is of an intensity not found anywhere else in Helmand. On average there are 15 small arms fire contacts a day and 15 IEDs found a week.

No wonder then that troops nicknamed Sangin the “bastard child of Helmand” or “Afghanistan’s Fallujah”.

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Marines: Salam Bazaar in Helmand province

While ridding the Salam Bazaar in Helmand province of known Taliban activity, April 14, the Marines of Company A, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, along with the Afghan national army and the Afghan national police encountered heavy resistance from insurgent forces. Once the Marines and the ANSF successfully cleared the bazaar, they conversed with the local people, receiving valuable information on insurgent activity from the town elders. Photo by Cpl. Daniel Blatter

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“This sucks – let’s kick the hacky sack around”

One admirable trait of soldiers is their ability to endure miserable conditions, keep their sense of humor, laugh at the craziness of it all – like playing hacky sack in a sandstorm.

During a sandstorm at forward operating base Dwyer in the Helmand province, US Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit played hacky sack. David Guttenfelder/AP

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Afghanistan – Royal Marines Storm IED Factory

From: Royal Marines Online

Royal Marines smash bomb factory and seize explosives

A bomb-making factory at the heart of one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan has been smashed in a high-profile operation by West-based Royal Marines.

In their biggest find to date, members of 40 Commando stormed an insurgent compound in the Sangin district of Helmand province.

They seized 40kg of homemade explosive, along with numerous weapons, pressure plates and components for making improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Taunton-based group’s operation manager, Major Duncan Forbes said they had severely hampered insurgents in their efforts to undermine security in the area.

He said a stark message had been sent to enemy forces that there are no longer any “no-go” areas in the difficult Sangin District.

“We will ruthlessly target those who seek to destabilise the region,” said Maj Forbes.

The isolated IED factory was targeted after Royal Marines were involved in a series of fire fights with people based in compounds on high ground near a frontline Forward Operating Base and Patrol Base.

As a result of their suspicions being raised, the Royal Marines and their Afghan partners watched the area closely in advance.

The Commandos then leapt into action during a covert overnight insertion of troops from two separate locations, which involved a mobile Quick Reaction Force Patrol primed to support the operation.

At first light, the patrol made their final approach towards the compound where weapons were visible through the open archways.

Using their well-rehearsed Counter-IED drills, Royal Marines isolated the compound and, on discovering the explosives cache which could have been turned into lethal landmines and rockets, called in their experts.

The operation was a complete success with no casualties and no collateral damage, said Maj Forbes. The bomb disposal team destroyed the explosives and recovered the remaining items for further examination.

“It was like finding a mini factory of IEDs,” he said.

“All the components and materials required to construct them were stored inside the compound.”

Sangin is an area of Afghanistan’s Helmand province which has long been regarded as a powder keg.

The Taunton-based commandos took over the watch last month, the second time they have deployed to Sangin.

A marine from 40 Commando was killed in an explosion in Helmand Province yesterday.

His next of kin have been informed and he will be named later today.

Article from

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Royal Marine Killed in Afghanistan

Royal Marine Killed in Afghanistan yesterday, May 9th, 2010.
From: Royal Marines

Marine killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that a Marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines serving as part of Combined Forces Sangin, Helmand, was killed in Afghanistan today, Sunday 9 May 2010.

The Marine was killed in an explosion that happened near Patrol Base Blenheim, in Sangin, Helmand Province, this morning.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, said:

“It is with deep sorrow I must inform you that a Marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed by an explosion in Sangin this morning.

“He was part of a foot patrol in an operation which was being conducted in support of the Afghan National Army when he was struck by an explosion.

“He died in the course of his duty, seeking to provide reassurance and security to the local nationals in Sangin. He will be sorely missed and his sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

Next of kin have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released.

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