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Patriotic Article
War and Tragedy

By USMC Cpl. Daniel Blatter

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Marines Fight Through Enemy Ambush To Build New Patrol Base
(January 7, 2011)

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SANGIN, Afghanistan (MCN - 1/3/2011) — Early on the morning of Dec. 21, Marines with 2nd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment moved down into the southern part of India Company's area of operations to establish a presence there and stop Taliban fighters.
The operation was platoon reinforced by a section of snipers, an explosive ordinance disposal team, an improvised explosive device detection dog and an attack dog, Afghan National Army soldiers and interpreters.

“The goal of this mission is to establish a long-term presence and a new patrol base for the battalion and we are going to secure areas that have not been secured in the past,” said 1st Lt. Bradley Fromm, the platoon commander for 2nd Platoon, India Company. “It may be us or it may be someone else, but we are going to establish that presence down there so we can bring security to these people and so we can deny the enemy freedom of movement in and throughout the southern port of the Company's area of operations.”

The platoon stepped of early in the morning to defy the enemy's ability to maneuver on them.

“In a past operation in the same area, the platoon itself found 13 IED's in three days and had several small arms engagements,”
Lance Cpl. David Ortega and Lance Cpl. Miguel Travino, both members of 2nd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, kneel in a group of trees in southern Sangin during a recent patrol on Deember 22, 2010. The Platoon was on an operation to secure a new patrol base in the area. Although on the first three days of the operation, the Marines encountered several firefights and found several improvised explosive devises, they also secured the compound and established a new patrol base.
Lance Cpl. David Ortega and Lance Cpl. Miguel Travino, both members of 2nd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, kneel in a group of trees in southern Sangin during a recent patrol on Deember 22, 2010. The Platoon was on an operation to secure a new patrol base in the area. Although on the first three days of the operation, the Marines encountered several firefights and found several improvised explosive devises, they also secured the compound and established a new patrol base.
said Fromm. “Every time we go out, it's almost guaranteed to get into a fire fight and if we hang around for more than 30 to 40 minutes it will become a sustained fire fight with the enemy trying to ambush from multiple directions.”
With the platoon ready for anything, they moved through the streets to the urban area close to their objective.

“I expect, we are going to see some contact coming in from our south and see some enemies trying to move in on us,” said Fromm, 25, from Madison, N.J. “We are pushing into an area that the enemy likes to have and that is friendly to them. So I think that there will be a standoff and we will bring the fight to them.”

Just as expected, as the platoon reached an open area that needed to be crossed, they were fired upon by enemy forces.

“We set up a support by fire with snipers and machine guns and fired smoke to try to screen our movement across,” said Fromm. “As soon as we stepped off to cross the danger area, we started to take immediate contact from three different directions and we immediately took an urgent casualty.

“At that point I got on the hook with the company and started calling in air support and anything else we could get to support us out there.”

The quiet morning was quickly filled with machine gun fire, yelling and the sound of aircraft coming in.

“We ended up getting a mixed section of Hueys and Cobras who did multiple rocketing gun runs on the target and silenced the firing as we successfully pulled the casualty back in,” said Fromm.

While the support was still overhead the platoon pushed 1st squad across the danger area, allowing them to reach the new patrol base.

The squad immediately set up to help support the following squads as they maneuvered across the danger area; however, as 3rd squad was crossing the area, they took fire again.

“We called in for artillery support and they gave us one HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] round, which hit its target and all firing ceased at that point,” said Fromm “After that we secured the compound and began setting up a patrol base.”

The next few days, the platoon worked on establishing a presence in the area. Patrols were pushed out toward the south securing more terrain. As the Marines patrolled the area, many compounds and locals were searched.

“We were able to recover one rifle with a high-powered scope on it while one of the other companies detained the individual who was firing it,” said Fromm.

As the Marines denied the enemy freedom of movement in the area, a new casualty evacuation route and supply route was reinforced by combat engineers who used bulldozers to improve the local road.

“The reason why we chose this patrol base particularly is because it is in a central location next to a key bridge across a canal from east to west,” said Fromm. “What we have seen is that enemy forces utilize this bridge to reinforce positions on either side depending on where we are coming down, from.

“Immediately after we took this bridge another unit pushed down on the west side of it in the green area and they took significantly less contact as they moved down there thanks to us being here and controlling that point.”

Just days into the operation, Marines in the area were already receiving the benefits of 2nd Platoon's accomplishments.

Once the new patrol base was established, the Marines of 2nd platoon began to make arrangements to meet with the local elders to identify any projects or areas that needed improvements. “We are going to start setting up meetings with the local elders so we can build a plan together on how we are going to secure this area.”
Article and photo by USMC Cpl. Daniel Blatter
Regimental Combat Team 2
Copyright 2011
Video > Marines Hunt Down Insurgents In Southern Afghanistan

Reprinted from Marine Corps News

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