Swift, Silent, Deadly, the Marines of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion are back in Afghanistan.
The unit, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., has taken over for 3rd Recon, out of Okinawa, Japan, in the Upper Sangin Valley. They’ll patrol land that remains some of the most treacherous in Helmand province.
Insurgents in the area should remember 1st Recon well. The unit deployed to Helmand in summer 2010, initially taking on the Taliban on the fringes of Marjah district when it was still a violent and unforgiving place.
They shifted their operations that fall to the Sangin area, and hammered away on the Taliban, reportedly killing up to 250 fighters in a few weeks last October. The insurgents began calling them the “Black Diamonds,” a reference to the diamond-shaped mounts they had on their helmets.
Third Recon, meanwhile, has plenty of stories of its own to tell. They played a key role in helping to secure sections of Route 611, and had a hand in clearing operations in Kajaki this fall. This story is just one that illustrates the kinetic activity they saw during their deployment.