PATROL BASE MAHAFIZ, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
PATROL BASE MAHAFIZ, Helmand province, Afghanistan – The sparse encampment here consists of little more than sleeping tents, a meeting area and a bird’s nest sentry post standing as a defiant beacon to the insurgency.
The Marines and sailor with 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, who man the base, however, understand the great responsibility they bear and are ever vigilant in their duties to maintain security in the area.
“We guard a road moving north and south, and [the patrol base] was established as a foothold and observation point to deny enemy freedom of movement throughout the area of operations,” said Tishomingo, Okla., native Sgt. Carl Brown, a field radio operator with 1/12 and the operations chief for the patrol base.
“We watch the main service route from Fire Base Fiddlers Green to Patrol Base Huskers so [insurgents] don’t place [improvised explosive devices] and conduct small arms attacks.”
The men stand post constantly, attentively providing a 360-degree watch on the surrounding fields and mud compounds. The corporal of the guard communicates with the Marines at the other posts to notify them of incoming military convoys, suspicious individuals and even movements of local animals.
The Marines work closely with their fellow 1/12 Marines located at the nearby Fire Base Fiddlers Green, ensuring they communicate anything suspicious or questionable in the area. The Marines and sailor work diligently each day to provide the additional security presence and area observation which prevents insurgent activity, keeping local Afghan residents and coalition forces safe from harm.
When not standing guard, the men spend their free time playing spades or other card games, watching movies, maintaining their weapons, and thinking of home. The group is looking forward to its departure later this year, when the service members will reunite with loved ones at their homecoming. Until then, however, they will continue their mission to remain vigilante.
“Everyone is healthy; the Marines are doing the right things they are trained to do, so I can’t ask for anything more,” said Brown.
Editor’s note: First Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
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This work, Mahafiz Marines keep roads safe, by Sgt Jeff Drew, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.