COMBAT OUTPOST OUELLETTE, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – The night sky is filled with more stars than a Marine can count, unobstructed by light pollution, and a moon that lights up the hills of Afghanistan. The nights are a time of relaxation and recuperation for the hard-working warriors.
Days here run like a well-oiled machine as Marines and sailors with 1st Tank Battalion and 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, work tirelessly to accomplish their daily missions. But when the sun goes down, the post comes alive with a night life unique to service members in Helmand.
The two battalions are currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division (Forward). The division heads Task Force Leatherneck, 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.
The battalions support the task force’s mission conducting counterinsurgency operations to secure the Afghan people, defeat insurgent forces, and enable ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
Days filled with patrols, providing security and vehicle maintenance under the hot Afghan sun in temperatures that reach into the hundreds make for long hours. Vehicles constantly enter and exit through the entry control point, while tankers conduct maintenance on their massive mobile weapons, and Marines prepare their gear and equipment for their next mission.
It’s no wonder why Marines spend the nights relaxing after a hard day’s work. It’s a way to pass the time when they’re not out and about fighting insurgents and working to help the Afghan people build a brighter tomorrow.