CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Dropping off some laundry, I couldn’t help notice the barking around the corner.
More than a dozen Marines were laying on their bellies in the dirt, working their body cores in a series of exercises outlined in the CrossFit fitness program. They were with R4OG, a group sent here to prepare gear to be sent back to the U.S. as part of the drawdown of coalition forces. The acronym stands for Retrograde and Redeployment in support of Reset and Reconstitution Operational Group.
Photographer Colin Kelly and I ended up back at Leatherneck this morning after hopping a helicopter from Combat Outpost Taghaz, in Khanashin district.
That ends our embedded assignment with Marine Border Adviser Team 1, a level-headed group of Marines that deserve our thanks and respect. They and a co-located element of Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, opened their doors to us for a week, showing us both progress the Afghan Border Police have made and internal strife among the Afghans that threatens it.
We’ll have much more about BAT-1, commanded by Maj. Max Hopkins, in forthcoming articles I’m writing about the security force assistance mission in Afghanistan and what it requires. For now, we’ll simply tip our caps and express our appreciation.