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    RCT-5 command delivers birthday tradition to southern Helmand

    RCT-5 command delivers birthday tradition to southern Helmand

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Alfred V. Lopez | U.S. Marine Col. Roger Turner, Regimental Combat Team 5 commanding officer, and Sgt....... read more read more

    HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

    11.10.2011

    Story by Lance Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez 

    Regimental Combat Team-5

    HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Around this time of the year, most Marines are shining their shoes, taking their ‘Blues’ to the cleaners and making sure they have their ticket and date to the ball.

    But here in Afghanistan, Marines don’t care about the mud on their boots.

    And all they want is a date and a ticket home.

    Regardless of clime or place, Marines will celebrate the birth of their beloved Corps, without fail, every year.

    “It’s amazing that we get to celebrate,” said Lance Cpl. Edward A. Doherty, a 20-year-old native of Weymouth, Mass., and infantryman with Charlie Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. “We get to eat cake and steak in Afghanistan.”

    Charlie Company has been through a lot in the past seven months, and celebrating the birthday before returning home is definitely worth it, Doherty said.

    Col. Roger Turner, the Regimental Combat Team 5 commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Ernest Hoopii, the RCT-5 sergeant major, brought the birthday celebration to Marines and sailors across southern Helmand.

    They traveled to different patrol bases and combat outposts in RCT-5’s battlespace delivering birthday cakes and messages from the Commandant and Gen. John A. Lejeune.

    “We had the pleasure of celebrating the birthday with various units in Khan-Neshin, Garmsir, Nawa and Marjah,” said Turner.

    Turner and Hoopii celebrated with 2nd and 1st LAR at patrol base Wolf Pack, 1st and 3rd Battalions, 3rd Marine Regiment at PB Karma, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines at PB Riley, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment at Forward Operating Base Marjah, and Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment at Combat Outpost Turbett.

    “I really liked that the commanding officer and sergeant major came down to celebrate the birthday with us,” said 1st Sgt. Jermaine Jenkins, a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., and the company 1st Sgt. of Charlie Company, 2nd LAR.

    “From my perspective, a lot of the young Marines don’t get to see the effects of what they do for the overall mission,” added Jenkins. “A lot of them think they’re not doing anything, but when they hear it from a full bird colonel and sergeant major in charge of this area, they finally see that what they’ve been doing for the past seven months… they know that a lot of their fellow Marines will be going home because of them.”

    “This is just a patrol base,” said 1st Lt. Eric Sean, a 24-year-old native of Topeka, Kan., and platoon commander with Lima Company, 3/6. “But seeing them here shows they care enough about our mission to take a timeout and celebrate the birthday with us.”

    The commanding officer and sergeant major are no strangers to celebrating the Corps’ birthday in a combat zone, but for many, this is their first time.

    “This is our twenty-seventh Marine Corps birthday,” said Turner. "Sometimes you celebrate them in really nice places, like Las Vegas or New York City. And sometimes you celebrate them in combat zones.”

    “I’ve had the pleasure to celebrate in the bombed-out buildings of Iraq and the jungles of Okinawa” said Turner. “It’s really special that no matter where you are in this day, you reflect on your time and service with your comrades on our birthday.”

    “This is the first time I’ve celebrated the birthday out here, I think it’s a great place to be,” said Sean. “You can celebrate it back home, but when you celebrate it here, you can really feel a difference.”

    Marines around the globe celebrate on this day, knowing their brethren in southern Helmand are celebrating as well.

    “The Marines with me today, rather than sitting at home and doing nothing, picked up a rifle, came to a foreign land and decided to make a difference,” said Turner. “They are men and women of action and it’s a true pleasure to have the opportunity to serve alongside them here.”

    RCT-5 is 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 Forces 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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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.10.2011
    Date Posted: 11.11.2011 03:59
    Story ID: 79890
    Location: HELMAND PROVINCE, AF 

    Web Views: 740
    Downloads: 3

    PUBLIC DOMAIN