SANGIN, Afghanistan – Nearly every hour, the sound of explosions echoed through the desert and green valleys of Sangin, Afghanistan.
The explosions came from improvised explosive devices as Marines with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, moved supplies through the area. The supplies were needed to sustain the unit during combat operations, June 22 through 27.
Charlie Co.’s Mobile Assault Platoon was the team tasked with the resupply mission. During the first day, they found or struck more than a dozen IEDs.
Captain Rhett Hansen, company commander, Charlie Co., said the enemy placed the IEDs in anticipation of the fight.
The purpose of Charlie Co.’s operation was to destroy insurgent safe havens in the area.
At the onset of the operation, some Marines were dropped in at night by MV-22 Ospreys while others drove in armored vehicles.
“Basically we cleared (the insurgents) out, pushed them back and made them go somewhere (else),” said Hansen.
“The biggest challenge was not knowing the area very well,” he continued. “Anytime you do a night insert in a high IED environment (there’s) just a lot of uncertainty”
The Marines with “Suicide Charley,” a nickname they received during World War II, resupplied Marines in remote areas of the operation with food, water and ammunition. Simultaneously, they conducted their own combat operations on the east side of the Helmand River.
According to Hansen, Charlie Co. pushed the enemy out of their location while Weapons Co. did the same on the opposite side of the river. Charlie Co. was also able to clear out other smaller safe havens on the east side of the river. “Overall the main effort was (Weapons) Company on the west side where they faced a heavy amount of enemy resistance,” he added.
Although the enemy had placed countless IEDs throughout the area to try to stop the Marines from accomplishing their mission, Charlie Co. wasn’t deterred.
“That did require route clearance to push through a heavily IED’ed area,” Hansen said. “I believe we found and detonated 13 IEDs in about a 500-meter stretch of road trying to get our resupply in.”
Although explosive ordnance disposal Marines destroyed some of the IEDs that were found, others were set off by vehicles driving over them. No Marines with Charlie Co. were killed in the blasts.
Hansen says this wasn’t the first time his Marines have been in dangerous situations. He credits the successful resupply and combat operations to the Marines’ training.
“Marines come back and they talk about how it really is true that when these things happen your training really does kick in, and they just fall back on that,” Hanson said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: First Battalion, 7th Marines is a part of 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.
This work, Charlie Company keeps Marines in operations supplied, by Sgt Ed Galo, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.