Marine Corps Times journalists to embed in Afghanistan


Senior writer Dan Lamothe, left, and senior photographer James Lee.

Two years ago, this blog was launched as I headed downrange to cover Marine operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. It’s about time I got back to it.

Beginning next week, Marine Corps Times photographer James Lee and I will be embedding with several battalions in northern Helmand. We’ll transit through the Corps’ main hub of operations in the country, Camp Leatherneck, with plans to spend time in Sangin and Kajaki districts.

I’m not bringing this up beforehand for bragging rights. No, I thought the best way to do this was to start a conversation early, as any good blog should. We’ll be living, eating and patrolling with Marines, and — to the extent possible — sharing here what life is like for them.

A few details still need to be worked out, but we expect to visit the following units:

— 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, out of Twentynine Palms, Calif.

— 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

— 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Longtime Battle Rattle readers may remember that my initial foray into combat zone coverage involved 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, which was then based in Helmand’s Marjah district. Life there has improved considerably, but it was an extremely violent place at the time, and we saw that firsthand. I’m hoping to duplicate the blogging from that assignment.

My colleague Lee hasn’t been to Afghanistan before, but he’s a war-zone veteran. He made three trips to Iraq to cover Army operations between 2005 and 2007, and also covered tsunami relief efforts in the Pacific in 2004.

For those who use Twitter, I’ll also be filing updates there. My handle is @DanLamothe.


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. Let them know we all appreciate everything they are doing and we are praying for them and we love them and we cant wait for them to come home soon!

    We are truly lucky and BLESSED to have such amazing men and women who choose to fight for us!

  2. Thank you for putting yourself in harms way to report on our boys and girls over there. Sometimes I feel like people have forgotten we are still “over there” in still in the fight. When I tell people about my son they will say “oh,I thought that was over”. It is not their fault they don’t know,it just isn’t reported on. Please let them all know we are thinking of them and can’t wait until they are all home.

  3. yes, public opinion is that we have no presence in Afghanistan. We need the public to care more about the men and women who put their lives on the line daily, than the death of drug addict singers. Let’s let them know we appreciate their daily sacrifices and what they do really matters to all of us.

  4. I hope you meet my nephew, Josh, in the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines Charley Co. Please be safe and tell those brave Marines to be safe. Thank you for your time and effort telling their story. It so needs to be heard.

  5. I used to love the idea of embedded journalists because it meant a hope of possibly seeing a an image of my son or reading about a snippet of his day if I was lucky enough to have you with his squad or team. But now, since it seems to be the trend to publicize military mistakes, particularly Marines, and to try, convict, and demonize via the journalistic bandwagon, all those who volunteered to do what the majority of us are too wimpy to do…. I’m leery about having someone out with the ones who are making life and death decisions by the minute; not sitting back on a low activity base and, I’m assuming from what you say, going out past the FOBs to outposts and checkpoints? I worry about the decisions they have to make in a split second – do they jump up and begin firing in their underwear and without grabbing their protective gear, or do they look over their shoulder first and worry about having a photo taken of them that will end up around the world and getting them disciplined?

    There was a time I wanted to know every move they were making, but now that they are in a doubly hostile place (one in which the people we were sent to kill were hostile, and now the people who wanted us and helped us to do it now do not want us and are hostile.)

    I would rather leave them alone to do their jobs and let them get out of there as soon and as safely as possible.

  6. Joy, I agree 333%. I would not want to be photographed mopping a floor, might reveal the spot I missed.

    Why not simply continue with our military photographers. They do excellent work, and are permitted to use their weapon!

  7. Gary Sosnowski on

    Dan, James

    Thank You both for your soon to be front line reporting. As a parent of a soon (October) to be deployed young Marine from the 2/7 Twenty Ninepalms I find this type of reporting to be very beneficial for family members. In addition the details that you may recount are beneficial for those soon to deploy, as the reporting adds another element of “training” I believe. Look forward to reading your stories. Thanks to All that serve!!!!

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