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    Marine truck convoys begin base closures

    Marine truck convoys begin base closures

    Photo By Gunnery Sgt. Brian Buckwalter | Thirty-two trucks from Bravo Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, 1st Marine...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Brian Buckwalter 

    Regimental Combat Team 6

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Afghanistan – Although the timeline for the complete withdrawal of combat troops in Afghanistan is still nearly two years away, Marines in southwest Afghanistan are already starting to close bases and consolidate people and equipment.

    Marines call it retrograding, and it’s a major step in transitioning security to Afghan National Security Forces. A 32-truck combat logistics patrol rolled onto Forward Operating Base Delaram II, April 28 to pick up and move shipping containers and other items to Camp Leatherneck. Leatherneck is the main coalition force base in Helmand province.

    “It’s mid-deployment, and retrograding is really picking up,” said Sgt. William Drake, security team leader, Bravo Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward). “Every combat logistics patrol we go on has some retrograde associated with it.”

    Drake, from Augusta, Ga., says the retrograde symbolizes “progress and success” in Afghanistan. One of the main missions of coalition forces is to train Afghans to handle their own security, and “this means they will be taking over soon,” he said.

    First Lt. Jessica Ryan, Bravo Company’s motor transport platoon commander, says she is proud of her Marines and the effort they put into this mission. They organized it and made it safely to Delaram II from Camp Leatherneck faster than most other combat logistics patrols despite the large number of trucks and the amount of material they had to move.

    “They all know this is the first big retrograde mission in the region,” said Ryan, from Rochester, N.Y. “This is a step forward in transition from (International Security Assistance Forces) to the Afghan forces.”
    Once the Bravo Company Marines arrived at the supply lot, they got right to work. They had the equivalent of 30, 20-foot shipping containers of gear, from miscellaneous supply items to truck tires to entire vehicles, to load onto their trucks.

    The goal was to make the four-hour round trip in one day, said Cpl. Benford Henry, loadmaster, Bravo Company. Benford is responsible for coordinating what gets dropped off and picked up. Even with the large amount of work the Marines had to do, he said it was an easy task.

    “I’ve got Marines who know what they’re doing,” Benford, from Carthage, Miss., said.

    Today’s mission was only the first big haul of gear out of Delaram II. It marks the beginning of a regular combat logistics patrol here for CLB 4. Over the next several months, Marines will be moving out of other forward operating bases too, either transferring them to Afghan forces or deconstructing them.

    Editor’s note: Forward Operating Base Delaram II houses the command element for Regimental Combat Team 6. RCT-6 falls under 1st 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.



    Date Taken: 04.28.2012
    Date Posted: 04.28.2012 12:40
    Story ID: 87533

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