Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Afstan: Marine Expeditionary Brigade to be 10,000 strong

The 8,ooo troops of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, going to Afstan under President Obama's surge, will be joined with the some 2,000- strong Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan that's already there. Some details:
As 8,000 Marines and sailors prepare to deploy to southern Afghanistan as part of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, the commander of the Camp Lejeune-based infantry unit that has been serving in southern Afghanistan since November says they have made important gains even while suffering difficult losses.

“Counterinsurgency is a sustained commitment that will take time here in Afghanistan; however, we feel we are accomplishing our mission daily and ‘moving the ball’ down the field here,” 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment commander Lt. Col. David Odom told The [Jacksonville N.C.] Daily News via e-mail.

The 3rd Battalion deployed to Afghanistan as the ground combat element of a special purpose Marine air-ground task force. The task force will be joined in southern Afghanistan later this spring by another 8,000 troops to form the 10,000-strong 2nd MEB.

The assumption of command ceremony for that brigade - and the announcement of the subordinate units that will make up the MEB - is scheduled for this morning at Camp Lejeune. Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson will command the brigade.

Odom said the Marines of 3/8 know that the additional troops will “sustain and advance the successes” made by Marines, Afghan National Security Forces and NATO troops in the area.

3/8’s primary mission has been counterinsurgency operations, with a focus on training and mentoring Afghan National Security Forces, Odom said.

They have been able to expand into areas where there was no previous security presence, facilitate better freedom of movement for the local people and prevent movement in those areas by insurgents, he said.

“We do have a viable and capable insurgency that we are fighting against, and there is still much to do; however, we know that with sustained presence and continued efforts alongside the Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan people, we are making a difference,” he said.

The unit operates from several bases in various district centers, he said, working with the Afghan people to establish good relations and holding frequent meetings, called “shuras.”

“Through seeking to conduct all operations and actions ‘by, with and through’ the Afghans, we know we are making a difference that builds steadily over time,” Odom said...
And a recent operation by the Task Force:
FARAH PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Afghan National Police and U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan completed Operation Pathfinder March 7, in Farah Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Pathfinder, or “Rah Nawa” in Pashto, was a strategically planned joint operation conducted by the ANP and 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), the ground combat element of SPMAGTF-A.

The objective of the operation was to target insurgent cells in eastern Farah Province. During the operation, the Marines of 3/8 and their ANP counterparts executed several Afghan-led cordon and search missions and arrest warrants against suspected insurgent forces.

“The ANP led every step of the way during the operation; we were there to support their efforts,” said Capt. Mike Hoffman, a company commander with 3/8.

The operation netted more than 150 pounds of military-grade explosives, 500 rounds of 7.62mm AK-47 ammunition, improvised explosive device-making material, and several hand grenades and assault rifles. ANP and Marine forces detained 11 suspected insurgents during the operation...


Post a Comment

<< Home