RCT-6 Marines take over for RCT-8 in northern Helmand


Infantrymen with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, set an ambush for insurgents in October as part of Operation Eastern Storm in northern Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Photo by Cpl. James Clark)

The regimental headquarters that has overseen infantry operations in northern Helmand province, Afghanistan, for the last year is headed home.

Regimental Combat Team 8, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., has been replaced in Afghanistan by Lejeune’s RCT-6, said Marine officials in Afghanistan. Like RCT-8, RCT-6 will be based out of Camp Delaram II in northeastern Nimroz province, overseeing operations in Sangin, Kajaki, Musa Qala and other nearby districts.

For RCT-8, commanded by Col. Eric Smith, it has been a long deployment in which several units have seen continued combat. Most recently, they included 1st Battalion, 6th Marines; 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines; 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines; 1st Reconnaissance Battalion; Golf Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines; and Alpha Company, 2nd Tank Battalion.

Several of those units were involved in Operation Eastern Storm this fall, in which Marine forces pushed north from volatile Sangin district to take on insurgents entrenched in Kajaki and other areas of northern Helmand. Fighting has been fierce as times, as this viral video of 1/6 at Patrol Base Georgetown shows.

In a blog entry published Jan. 1, Smith said insurgents should expect Marines to continue taking the fight to them.

“RCT-6 has arrived and is doing a superb job of taking the reins,” he said. “Any insurgents who think that a change in units will give them a break are sadly mistaken.”


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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.

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