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    On third Afghan tour, Marine brings experience, leadership to Marine wing support mission

    Marine heavy equipment operator finds critical role on task force in Afghanistan

    Photo By Brian Adam Jones | Cpl. Christopher Cane constructs a helicopter landing zone in the Helmand River valley...... read more read more

    PATROL BASE ALCATRAZ, AFGHANISTAN

    11.02.2011

    Story by Cpl. Brian Adam Jones 

    II Marine Expeditionary Force

    PATROL BASE ALCATRAZ, Afghanistan - Capt. Michael Gagnon, a logistics officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, is on his third deployment to Afghanistan in two years.

    The 29-year-old native of Oxford, Mass., said he has learned a lot from Afghanistan since 2009.

    “This is a thinking man’s war,” Gagnon said.

    Currently Gagnon commands a roughly 20-man team dubbed “Task Force Nomad.”

    Operating out of Patrol Base Alcatraz, situated on the rim of the Helmand River Valley, the task force will spend the next several weeks constructing and repairing helicopter landing zones for various patrol bases in the valley.

    “What we’re doing allows troops to get resupply and casualty evacuation,” Gagnon said.

    Gagnon said “knowing how to employ personnel and equipment” is critical to the success of his current mission, and he’s learned a few tricks from the region over the years.

    “There are only three things I need – weapons, equipment and my personnel,” Gagnon said.

    “I was here in 2009 when we were putting the first battalions in country,” Gagnon said. “I’ve seen footholds spread from warzones to active and bustling peaceful economies with wheat distribution centers. The local police, the Afghan National Army get better every day. Civil Affairs has rebuilt roads and expanded economies. It’s remarkable how much things have developed in a short amount of time.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.02.2011
    Date Posted: 11.02.2011 12:24
    Story ID: 79432
    Location: PATROL BASE ALCATRAZ, AF

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