FORWARD OPERATING BASE MARJAH, AFGHANISTAN
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MARJAH, Afghanistan -- When Marines of 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, came aboard Forward Operating Base Marjah, December 2010, Marine communication specialists tapped into insurgent intelligence.
Upon seeing the Marines of 3/9, insurgents were convinced they had witnessed the arrival of a special forces unit, and 3/9 could hear them discuss this.
“We arrived here with the latest and best gear that the Marine Corps had to offer,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen W. Larose, the senior chief warrant officer for 3/9. “Based off of what these Marines have accomplished, I’d say that the enemy wasn’t too far off in their assumption. These [Marines] are amazing.”
In less than 160 days, the Marines have been in 250 small arms fire fights, found more than 350 weapons caches, detained 118 insurgents, built or moved 15 patrol bases in Marjah to provide better security to the area, and also discovered more than 200 improvised explosive devices. Eighty percent of the IEDs were found before detonation.
“Those statistics are staggering and really show what 3/9 has accomplished,” said Larose, originally from Syracuse, N.Y. “Our mission in Marjah has been to secure the population, partner with Afghan National Security Armed Forces and to develop the government.”
Specifically for use by Afghans, 3/9 developed and graduated two Squad Leader Courses, developed a Professional Officers Course, and recruited more than 1,000 Afghans for the Afghan Uniformed Police throughout their deployment.
“The most important thing we’ve given the people here is the intangible goods,” said Sgt. Maj. Octavio Gallegos Jr., the battalion sergeant major of 3/9. “The new Marines have been connecting with the Afghans, showing them that we’re not the Soviets here to hurt them, we’ve come here to help.”
When the Marines arrived in Marjah, there were less than 150 children enrolled in school. Today there are over 3,000 Afghan students attending school on a daily basis. This furthers the education of Afghan children by providing them with literacy and skills that can help their country in the future.
“I’ve been really impressed by the Marines,” said Gallegos, a native of Las Cruces, N.M. “What I always tell the Marines is that this isn’t about us, it’s about the Afghan people and the Marines have done better than expected with the projects and security to help rebuild Afghanistan.”
||FORWARD OPERATING BASE MARJAH, AF
This work, Accomplishing the Mission: Marines in Marjah Produce Results, by Cpl Daniel Wulz, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.