Now reporting live from the Yellow School of hard knocks

Marines and other deployed personnel relax during a quiet minute at the Yellow Schoolhouse in Marjah, Afghanistan.  Dan Lamothe//Staff

Marines and other deployed personnel relax during a quiet minute at the Yellow Schoolhouse in Marjah, Afghanistan. (Dan Lamothe/Staff)

MARJAH, AFGHANISTAN — Hello from the ‘stan, friends. Tom and I have made another move, leaving Patrol Base Yazzie yesterday to spend some time with the Marines of the Yellow Schoolhouse, a deserted Afghan school for which Marine Corps leadership has high hopes. Third Platoon from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines rotates squads through here on a revolving basis.

As you can see, the school is rather, uh, rustic. There are no windows, numerous holes in the roof and a variety of birds and insects sharing the building with the Marines deployed there. I’ll have substantially more to a report in a forthcoming Marine Corps Times story once I get outside the wire here more (we already went on one patrol today).

In case it wasn’t already painfully obvious, we got a reminder during our trip here yesterday with a mail convoy that Marjah can turn from interesting, rustic farming community to hazard area very quickly. The front vehicle in our convoy — a new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV, was destroyed after hitting a substantial improvised explosive device. All Marines inside survived and were joking about the incident a few minutes later. Tom shot some video moments after the blast occurred, and will have more in a blog post soon.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. keep your head down. Miss your red sox posts. Tell the soldiers we’re all proud of them, and our prayer are with them. Keep up the good fight.

  2. My son is there with India 3/12 . Please keep me updated with any information. I am also mailing packages everyweek. So if anything specific is needed I will send it A.S.A.P.
    Semper Fi! I miss you my son CPL Jake

  3. Glad to see mention of Jonathan Francis in your other post. Yesterday was his birthday! Your posts have been a gift to us! We are very proud of him and all his fellow marines! Stay safe!

  4. Mark, glad to mention Lance Cpl. Francis. He turned that ambush around on those insurgents pretty quickly with his M203 the other day, and is well regarded for his accuracy with it.

    I’m sure it’s no surprise to you, but he’s also something of a character. When it comes to those grenades, “I can make it rain,” he said.

  5. Meg McConnell on

    My brother is there sitting in the lawn chair on the right!! God bless our Marines and God just keep them safe!!
    Thank you everyone for all of your support!
    Semper Fi!
    Love you bruh-bruh.

  6. I’m proud to say my son Lance Cpl Smith is currently there in Afghanistan in 3/6 India Company! I miss him like crazy. Stay safe! Love Mom

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