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    Boots hit the ground with shovels in hand; Marines arrive, fortify Observation Post Huskars

    Boots hit the ground with shovels in hand; Marines arrive, fortify Observation Post Huskars

    Photo By James Clark | Marines dig pits, which will serve as their living spaces and fill sandbags at...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. James Clark 

    Regimental Combat Team-7

    HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — A mounted patrol rolls up a mud path past spools of coiled concertina wire, which are uncurled as the column of vehicles passes and pulls into Observation Post Huskars, in Helmand province, Jan. 14, 2010.

    Marines from Alpha and Weapons Companies, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and attachments from 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, stand in green short sleeved shirts, cammie trousers and boots painted light brown with mud. Most of the Marines clutch shovels or hold open sandbags, those who don't, man posts and crouch behind M-240 medium machine guns.

    The Marines and the Afghan national army soldiers of Alpha Co., 1/6, arrived at the post just days before, taking charge of it in place of 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment and quickly began reinforcing the defenses and constructing billeting for the incoming troops.

    Sitting in a freshly-dug mortar pit, Staff Sgt. Nelson A. Adames, a section leader with 81 mm Mortars Platoon, Weapons Co., 1/6, described the first few days at the post.

    "When we hit the ground and came out here, it was actually really motivating to see how fast they dug in," said Adames, referring to the practice of building a fortified weapons position for the section's mortar systems. "We had a lot of support and help from everyone out here. The other Marines came out and did more than their part."

    Overall the purpose of increasing the number of Marines and Afghan national army soldiers at the observation post is to increase the coalition forces' presence in the area in order to move Marines and soldiers closer to the Afghan people, and in doing so, reduce the Taliban's control over the region, explained Adames.

    "Although we haven't had any engagements yet, being in theater so far, it's clear to me that these guys will rise to the occasion and do their jobs well," said Adames.

    When the Marines from 1/6 first arrived at the observation post, they had only the bare bones of an outpost and quickly set about installing hygiene facilities, a medical center and reinforcing the gun positions, said Lance Cpl. Henry D. Kornegay, an M-249 squad automatic weapon gunner with Alpha Co, 1/6.

    Although the fortification of positions is a necessity, Kornegay touched on the sense of anxiousness to finally begin combat operations, saying, "Everybody wants to get started, it's why we're here — It's our job."

    The outpost will work as a launch pad for future operations in the area, said Staff Sgt. Sean Warren, a platoon sergeant with Alpha Co., 1/6 as he explained the significance of manning Observation Post Huskars.

    "We're starting to implement security further west, into the [area of operations]," said Warren, who is originally from Colfax, Calif. "We're about to start patrols in order to give the [Afghan national army] soldiers we're out here with, the chance to get some more experience before larger operations begin."

    As the mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, which pulled in earlier, prepare to leave, a flat boom puts men on their guard, and a second explosion which comes just a few minutes later holds their attention. Out across the flat brown plateau two plumes of smoke rise, and off in the distance helicopters can already be seen as they head towards the impact zone of two improvised-explosive devices

    The Marines return to work filling sandbags in earnest, and the vehicles drive back out and down the road. As they leave, they amble past the concertina wire which is pulled back in place barring their return.



    Date Taken: 01.14.2010
    Date Posted: 01.17.2010 13:48
    Story ID: 44024

    Web Views: 1,244
    Downloads: 1,101