News: 1st Marine Division Forward, Afghan Army unite
Story by Cpl. Ned Johnson
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan— The Afghan national army's 215th Maiwand Corps was activated during an inauguration ceremony aboard Camp Shorabak here, April 1.
This battalion sized unit was the first corps to stand up in more than six years and will work hand-in-hand with the 1st Marine Division (Forward) to help the ANA establish security in Helmand province.
"Now the 215th Corps stands as a symbol of their resolve and foundation," said Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commanding general of International Security Assistance Forces. "Their brigades have served with distinction and now they will achieve even more as an assembled corps."
The security of Helmand is paramount, and the 215th Corps will continue to join the fight with coalition forces to capitalize on a relationship forged in battle," McChrystal added. Due to increasing violence, the battle the Afghans have ahead of them will not be easy.
Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghanistan Minister of Defense, spoke to more than 1,000 of his troops that comprise the 215th Corps. Also present was Gulab Mangal, the governor of Helmand province, along with more than 200 service members and dignitaries from around the world.
"It is our goal to bring peace to Helmand province," Gen. Wardak spoke strongly as his troops cheered with approval. "We will sacrifice to achieve that goal, and we will succeed!"
During the ceremony, both Afghan and U.S. leaders expressed similar sentiments on challenges and success.
"This ceremony is a big milestone on the road to a fully mature Afghan national army structure capable of meeting the challenges posed by the threats present today and in the future," McChrystal said.
The day was important for Marines as the 215th Corps will be partnered with the 1st Marine Division (Fwd), including teams of Marines to mentor the new Afghan soldiers, said Brig. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, commanding general of 1st Marine Division (Fwd).
"A day like today is incredibly important because it shows the potential of the Afghan Army," Osterman said. "More importantly, we look forward to our new capabilities as we partner the 1st Marine Division with the ANA."
Throughout the next several months the 215th Corps and 1st Marine Division (Fwd) will continue their partnership to bring peace and security to Helmand province.