Author Dan Lamothe

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.

As you may have seen, four Marine Corps generals and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett sat down with me recently and discussed a variety of issues, including the commandant’s new tough plans for barracks security, the manpower drawdown and the future of the service after Afghanistan. Times are tough, they acknowledged. But Maj. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commanding officer of 1st Marine Division, said Marines are also afraid of change, or the perception of change. He referenced a hot-button issue — Commandant Gen. Jim Amos’ decision to ditch rolled sleeves for Marines — while addressing it: Marine Corps…

Former Army Capt. Will Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor on Oct. 15, more than four years after he and other U.S. forces tried desperately to find and save three Marines and a Navy corpsman who were trapped under heavy fire in the infamous Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan. Those troops didn’t make it out of the Sept. 8, 2009, ambush alive, but Swenson has not forgotten them. He invited the families of Marine 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick and Navy Hospitalman 3rd Class James Layton to his White House ceremony, said…

The Marine Corps’ annual exposition of gear, weapons and vehicles kicks off today at Quantico, Va. It is expected to draw thousands of Marines and civilians from across the country, with a special emphasis on what industry is producing for the Corps. Marine Corps Times prepared for the expo by producing its annual State of the Marine Corps issue. Out on newsstands this week, it leverages insight from 15 general officers to paint a picture of where life stands in the Corps. If you’re on base and looking, you’ll find it available at the expo. Highlights of the event include…

Marine Corps Times posted online last night my long-form profile of Cpl. Rob Richards, one of the Marine scout snipers who appeared in a video urinating on dead Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. The video created an international uproar after it first appeared on the Internet in January 2012. My story is posted in its entirety here. However, I also wanted to point out the work of staff videographer Mike Morones, who traveled me with for the interview to Jacksonville, N.C. With Richards’ permission, we recorded the interview and Morones edited together two video packages. First, here’s Richards speaking on how…

In recent weeks, Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer has forcefully advocated for the U.S. to allow his former Afghan interpreter into the U.S., saying the man feared for his life after getting death threats from the Taliban. Fayez, shown at right with Meyer, is now in the U.S. The Marine posted the photograph on Twitter on Friday, adding a note that showed relief. “Back together finally,” Meyer said. “Fazel is in America.” Fazel — known in a lot of previous media coverage as Hafez to protect his identify — was in the Ganjgal Valley in eastern Afghanistan on Sept.…

The White House announced on Monday that former Army Capt. Will Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor on Oct. 15, four years after he braved enemy fire repeatedly while leading U.S. forces through a horrific ambush that erupted in eastern Afghanistan. The Battle of Ganjgal on Sept. 8, 2009, is especially well known because Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer already received the nation’s top award for valor that day. Until tonight, however, few had seen a gritty war-zone video of Swenson on the battlefield during it. A sergeant in the Army National Guard recorded it while working that day on…

The Marine Corps made national headlines in fall 2010 when it sent tanks to northern Helmand province to bolster firepower there. It was a first for the U.S. in the war, which was nine years old at the time. Nearly three years later, the tanks are coming home. Delta Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., will redeploy to the U.S. soon, and will not be replaced by a similar unit, said 1st Lt. Philip Kulczewski, a Marine spokesman in Afghanistan. It’s one of the most tangible indications recently that that the U.S. drawdown in forces in Afghanistan…

The deadly attack last year on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, has received widespread coverage, especially by Marine Corps Times. But it isn’t every day that a Marine operation makes the pages of a gentlemen’s magazine. The newest GQ magazine profiles the Sept. 14, 2012, battle, sharing a number of details that square with previously published reports. It was written by Matthieu Aikins, whom I crossed paths with last October while embedded with Marines in Helmand province. Aikins’ story is written colorfully, and includes one troubling new allegation that had not previously been reported: But a troubling question still lingers: How could…

At least four Marines who served with the Harrier squadron attacked last year at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, have received the Purple Heart, Marine officials said in a news release published Thursday. Lance Cpl. Cole Collums, Sgt. Jonathan Cudo and former Cpl. Matthew Eason received the award Aug. 1 for wounds sustained in the Sept. 14, 2012, attack, Marine officials said. Maj. Eason, Collums and Cudo are the second, third and fourth Marines from VMA-211 who acted at Camp Bastion to receive Purple Hearts. They were all with Marine Attack Squadron 211, out of Marine Corps Station Yuma, Ariz., when the…

English bulldog Sgt. Chesty XIII stepped down as the mascot of Marine Barracks Washington today, allowing Lance Cpl. Chesty XIV to get his paws on the job. Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps oversaw the ceremony, in which the younger pooch also was promoted to lance corporal. Marine Corps Times videographer Colin Kelly was on the scene. Here’s his video: [HTML1] Congratulations, young Chesty. You earned yourself a T-bone.

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