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    Marines rescue Afghan National Army vehicle from ditch while winning Afghan hearts and minds

    Marines rescue Afghan National Army vehicle from ditch while winning Afghan hearts and minds

    Photo By Sgt. Walter D. Marino II | Cpl. Adam S. Rogers a combat engineer for Route Clearance Platoon 3, 2nd Combat...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Walter D. Marino II 

    Regimental Combat Team-7

    HELMAND PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — As Route Clearance Platoon 3, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion convoys its way through an Afghan road, young children cry and signal for food.

    Some Marines patrolling alongside the vehicles begin passing out oatmeal cookies.

    Although the mission of RCP-3 is to rid Helmand province, Afghanistan of IED's, the Marines of RCP3 understand winning the war in Afghanistan is about more than ridding the country of roadside bombs.

    "Hopefully these kids grow up and remember how nicely we treated them and choose not to be a part of the Taliban when they grow up," said Lance Cpl. Paul N. Krist, a dog handler for RCP-3.

    The Marines also realize that their actions not only benefit fellow Marines, but innocent Afghans as well.

    The same roads RCP-3 clears for IEDs are also used by women and children.

    "It makes me feel good to know that our work helps them not have to worry about IEDs," said Lance Cpl. Michael J. Scott, a combat engineer for RCP-3. "Almost every single route that we go down we see kids."

    Although happy to be ridding southern Afghanistan of roadside bombs, some of the Marines wished insurgents would choose to engage in combat instead of planting IEDs.

    "I think it's cowardly. They're hurting people, innocent people, their not fighting us directly," said Lance Cpl. Cyle W. Rippey, a combat engineer for RCP-3. "They're hurting their own people and trying to make it look we cause it to recruit new members. It's cowardly there's no better way to explain it. No honor behind it."

    On day three of RCP's six-day mission, the unit was convoying down a route, and came across the Afghan national army, who appeared to be in dire need of some assistance.

    A truck laid halfway submerged in a canal on the route ahead.

    Momentarily putting a pause on their mission, RCP-3 stopped their convoy to help the Afghans.

    Working together, the Marines and ANA latched cables to the vehicle, and carefully towed the truck from the canal.

    Through the crowd around the vehicle, a Marines-voice could be heard.

    "Winning the hearts and minds," said one Marine.

    When the work was done RCP-3 was just glad to have helped, and were even understanding to the incident.

    "In the winter, the rain causes routes to become slippery, and harder for the drivers to handle the vehicle," said Cpl. Adam S. Rogers, combat engineer for RCP-3. "When roads get washed out, it becomes possible for vehicles to get stuck or fall into the canal."

    As the Marines continued on with their route clearance mission, they left a standing impression with the Afghan locals and ANA.

    "This is a great help that the Marines did for us, and we will never forget it," said Entizar a gunnery sergeant for the Afghan national army. "We are going to try and do the same for them whenever we can. This is not just about taking the car out. We are happy with them because they are good to us."



    Date Taken: 01.25.2010
    Date Posted: 01.25.2010 01:35
    Story ID: 44384

    Web Views: 1,302
    Downloads: 1,155