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    2/9 assumes control of northern Marjah from 3/6



    Story by Pfc. Andrew Johnston 

    I Marine Expeditionary Force

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHER WALI, Afghanistan -- Marines and sailors with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, officially took over all operations from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, during a transfer of authority ceremony, Aug. 8, at Forward Operating Base Sher Wali, Afghanistan.

    Lt. Col. Brian S. Christmas, commanding officer of 3/6, took time to reflect on the accomplishments of his unit, and how things have changed for the better over their seven-month deployment.

    Christmas talked about how the unit not only adapted to harsh weather conditions, but all aspects of non-conventional war as well.

    “It’s funny because I was just talking about being cold, stuck in a hole out in the middle of the desert,” said Christmas to a crowd of Marines and sailors. “I remember saying ‘wait a second, this is Afghanistan? What is this? It’s freezing,’ and then to come around full circle to 115-to-120 degree heat, it’s amazing,”

    Christmas further explained to the crowd how they overcame many obstacles and rose above anything that stood in their way of improvement.

    “The fact is that these Marines have adapted, just like they adapted from a conventional fight, to a counterinsurgency operation,” said Christmas. “It’s a very different fight that requires a lot of different skill sets. It requires tactical patience; it requires aggressiveness and a balancing act between the two, and these Marines have done a phenomenal job.”

    For the past seven months, Marines and sailors of 3/6 spent countless hours patrolling, weeding out insurgents and making the area of northern Marjah a safer place.

    Although the unit has accomplished a lot in the little time that they have been there, Christmas pointed out that there still is a great deal to accomplish and that 2/9 will carry the torch and forge ahead.

    “I don’t look at everything that’s happened or changed over the past seven months,” said Christmas. “What I look at is that we have progressed, and that’s what has happened over the past seven months. It’s that this area of operation and its riflemen have all progressed, and 2/9 is going to carry that progression and continue to make a difference.”

    As the ceremony went on, the longtime tradition of changing unit colors continued while the crowd stood at attention. The national anthem blared through the speakers as a sense of pride and accomplishment filled the air once the official turnover was set in place.

    Lt. Col. James R. Fullwood, commanding officer of 2/9, echoed his counterpart’s remarks on 3/6, and praised them for their accomplishments as well. He explained that even though the unit was coming to the end of their tour, they never faltered and knew it was their obligation to fight until the last day.

    “They know the importance of their mission,” said Fullwood. “They know that every day counts in counterinsurgency. They know that the Marines and sailors they turn the fight to, their Afghan brothers, the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Civil Order Police and most importantly, the people of Afghanistan and Marjah, count on them. All the way to the day that they conducted their final relief in place and turned over their fighting position, post and patrols to 2/9, they kept at it hard and never skipped a beat.”

    Fullwood made it clear that 2/9 was here to make a difference and stand up to any opposition that may arise. He undoubtedly gave his word to the Afghan people, and explained the commitment of 2/9 and his vision for the future.

    “ANA, ANCOP, Afghan Uniformed Police; this is your country,” he said to the crowd. “We are here to help you. We are here to help the people of Afghanistan, to stand shoulder to shoulder, and destroy those who destroy Afghanistan. We are here to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Marjah and Afghanistan. I promise you today to help continue the traditions set by 3/6. We will work together to solve the problems that exist here in Marjah. Together we will make it a better place; together we will win.”



    Date Taken: 08.09.2010
    Date Posted: 08.09.2010 10:46
    Story ID: 54204

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