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News: On third Afghan tour, Marine brings experience, leadership to Marine wing support mission

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Marine heavy equipment operator finds critical role on task force in Afghanistan Cpl. Brian Adam Jones

Cpl. Christopher Cane constructs a helicopter landing zone in the Helmand River valley of southwestern Afghanistan from behind the wheel of an armored bulldozer, Oct. 21. Cane, a native of Olympia, Wash., is a heavy equipment operator on a roughly 20-man team dubbed "Task Force Nomad." Over the next several weeks, the task force, a subset of Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, will construct or improve helicopter landing zones along the Helmand River valley in southwestern Afghanistan.

PATROL BASE ALCATRAZ, Afghanistan - Capt. Michael Gagnon, a logistics officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, is on his third deployment to Afghanistan in two years.

The 29-year-old native of Oxford, Mass., said he has learned a lot from Afghanistan since 2009.

“This is a thinking man’s war,” Gagnon said.

Currently Gagnon commands a roughly 20-man team dubbed “Task Force Nomad.”

Operating out of Patrol Base Alcatraz, situated on the rim of the Helmand River Valley, the task force will spend the next several weeks constructing and repairing helicopter landing zones for various patrol bases in the valley.

“What we’re doing allows troops to get resupply and casualty evacuation,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon said “knowing how to employ personnel and equipment” is critical to the success of his current mission, and he’s learned a few tricks from the region over the years.

“There are only three things I need – weapons, equipment and my personnel,” Gagnon said.

“I was here in 2009 when we were putting the first battalions in country,” Gagnon said. “I’ve seen footholds spread from warzones to active and bustling peaceful economies with wheat distribution centers. The local police, the Afghan National Army get better every day. Civil Affairs has rebuilt roads and expanded economies. It’s remarkable how much things have developed in a short amount of time.”


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This work, On third Afghan tour, Marine brings experience, leadership to Marine wing support mission, by Cpl Brian Adam Jones, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:11.02.2011

Date Posted:11.02.2011 12:24

Location:PATROL BASE ALCATRAZ, AF

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