In the war in Afghanistan, few campaigns have captured the public’s imagination like the Battle of Marjah.
The early stages of the fight were launched two years ago today when Marines were airlifted deep into insurgent-held territory in Helmand province. Operation Moshtarak involved more than 15,000 U.S., British, Canadian, French and Afghan troops, many of whom were pressed into a fight for their lives in a maze of dusty compounds and patchwork fields and canals.
Facebook updates from Marines I’ve stayed in touch with from my 2010 embed there show today’s date is in the forefront of many of their minds. Like the Nov. 8, 2004, launch of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq, it was a life-changing day that many of them circle on their metaphorical calendars.
Those Marines remember the gunfights, improvised explosive devices and other booby traps that were prevalent there for months. They also recall the lesser known details, like huddling for warmth in the February weather and sleeping in fighting holes in the early days of the fight.
There are many more things we could say about Marjah today, but I’d rather that readers contribute. Please share your memories of the battle, whether you were at home worried about your loved one, in the thick of it or somewhere in between.