HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Marines and sailors of Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, battled Taliban insurgents Feb. 9 after conducting a successful helicopter-borne assault to seize a key intersection east of the insurgent stronghold city of Marjah.
The Marines, some carrying more than their body weight in gear, moved toward the center of an area known as “Five Points,” an intersection of major roads in western Helmand Province, located between the cities of Marjah and Nawa. The Marines were joined on the assault by their partnered Afghan National Army soldiers who fought alongside them against the Taliban.
“I felt the assault went well,” said Capt. Stephan P. Karabin, commanding officer, Co. C, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, “We got in here quickly, under the cover of darkness on the helicopters, moved into position, set everything in place and were able to seize the objective. This area is important because it’s the one intersection which links northern Marjah to (eastern Helmand Province) and it blocks that supply route.
“Marines did their job well here, and some engaged with the enemy for the first time in this deployment,” said Karabin, 30, from West Palm Beach, Fla.
The Five Points intersection and surrounding area is also part of the main route from Marjah to Lashkar Gah, the Helmand provincial capital, said Karabin.
“These roads are very important to our movement within the area of operations,” said Karabin.
Not long after Marines established their defensive positions in the area did they observe Taliban fighters approaching from Marjah. The Taliban immediately began firing their machine guns at the Marines. Marines and ANA soldiers fired back with heavy machine guns, rockets and small-arms fire, wounding and killing several Taliban fighters, forcing them to flee.
Marines took the brief respite to fortify their fighting positions with sandbags and concrete blocks scrounged from the area around them.
“While we were reinforcing our position on a roof, we came under fire again,” said Sgt. Stephen Y. Roberts, a 23-year-old assault section leader, Weapons Platoon, C Co. “It was three or four of the same fighters we had seen firing at us earlier.”
Roberts responded to the enemy machine-gun fire by launching a Javelin shoulder-fired missile into the position the fighters were firing from, immediately silencing the heavy machine gun. Marine AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters flying the area followed Roberts’ fire to strike a volley of heavy machine-gun fire and rockets, putting an end to the engagement.
Co. C Marines were joined at Five Points that evening by squads of Marines from Co. B, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, having traveled the nine kilometers from Nawa on foot while sweeping for and clearing improvised explosive devices along the road linking the two locations.
// By Cpl. Colby W. Brown
A local Afghan goat farmer directs his herd around a convoy with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment in the Garmsir district, Sept. 20, 2011. From Sept. 19 to 24, elements from Bravo and Hotel Company [Read more...]
// By Marines Staff
CURRENT Mission: 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, recently deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan. Their mission is to partner with the Afghan National Security Forces and conduct counterinsurgency operations in Garmsir, focusing on protecting the population, [Read more...]
// By Sgt. Michael S. Cifuentes
Gunnery Sgt. Christopher J. Clookey was no stranger to danger during his deployment to Afghanistan in the spring of 2008. In a span of three days, Clookey and his Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, [Read more...]
// By Marines Magazine Staff
Task Force Leatherneck Mission: To conduct counter-insurgency operations in partnership with Afghan National Security Forces and support the expansion of security and legitimate governance. MEB-A’s Goals: • Establish security and safety for Afghan citizens • [Read more...]
// By Lance Cpl. Benjamin Harris
Marines Magazine is proud to acknowledge the passing of five years since the Battle of Fallujah, arguably the fiercest combat Marines have seen since the Vietnam War. As time passes, more and more Marines only read or hear about this event as history.