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    Marines Secure Kajaki Dam

    Marines Secure Kajaki Dam

    Photo By Cpl. Daniel Blatter | Marines with India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Daniel Blatter 

    1st Marine Division

    KAJAKI, Afghanistan – Surrounded by enemy forces, the Marines of India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, work to keep the Kajaki Dam secure.

    The Kajaki Dam, built in 1953 by the U.S. government, is one of two major hydroelectric power dams in the Helmand province. The 320-foot-high and 887-foot-wide dam is a vital piece of terrain to millions of Afghans.

    Securing this vital piece of terrain is crucial to providing electricity to nearly a million Afghan homes, while irrigating more than 600,000 acres of otherwise arid land, but the road has not come without a price. Many Marines here have been shot at, or encountered improvised explosive devises, but they drive on.

    “We have been here since mid-June, and have been in firefights almost every day,” said 1st Lt. James Ferguson, the platoon commander with 2nd platoon. “My Marines have seen their friends get shot, and they have seen their friends get blown up, but they continue to go out because they know how important the mission is and that they are not going to let the enemy dictate the way things work.”

    Nearly every day, the India Battery Marines suit up to patrol the surrounding villages in Kajaki. Their mission is to secure the dam by patrolling.

    “The Kajaki Dam is surrounded on three sides by enemy forces and it controls the power for the majority of Helmand province,” said Capt. Thomas Kearns, the India Battery executive officer. “If Taliban were able to have complete control of the dam then they would control all the power.

    “The reason we are here is to protect the dam,” added Kearns from Bordentown, N.J. “We have found that the best way of doing that is actively engaging the enemy.”

    By the Marines of India Battery continuously patrolling the area, Taliban are slowly getting pushed away from the dam.

    “Our mission right now is to provide security for the Kajaki District and specifically, the key piece of terrain, which is the Kajaki Dam,” said Ferguson. “Basically, by us patrolling, we are denying the enemy freedom of maneuver in the northern area of operations by going out there and demonstrating our dominance. We are showing them through our actions that there is a line on the ground and that they are not going to cross it.”

    While on the patrols, the 3/12 Marines did stand their ground in several firefights, showing insurgent forces their unwavering resolve to protect the dam.

    “This ground belongs to the people of Afghanistan,” Ferguson said. “The Taliban may be operating here attempting to use it as a staging area for their operations, but this is our territory and we are going to partner with the people in the area to rid the Taliban of another staging area for their IED emplacement and their attacks on coalition forces.”

    Although the Marines in India Battery risk their lives every day, the mission is clear and each Marine plays an important role in the success of the operation.

    “We continue to patrol in this area and keep the enemy forces back and we will continue to push and keep the Taliban insurgents as far away from the dam as possible,” Kearns said.

    “They can shoot at us all that they want,” Ferguson added. “But we are going to be back out there the next day continuing to take the fight to them any time we can.”



    Date Taken: 09.09.2010
    Date Posted: 09.10.2010 06:21
    Story ID: 56002
    Location: KAJAKI, AF 

    Web Views: 3,873
    Downloads: 17