Browsing: Infantry

TAGHAZ, Afghanistan – Sometimes, you have to get a little muddy in life. That’s a good lesson learned in Afghanistan, at least. It came up today while on foot patrol in this area with members of Marine Border Adviser Team 1, as they pushed on foot from their outpost in southern Helmand province to a nearby tactical checkpoint that members of the Afghan Border Police call home. It wasn’t a long patrol, to be certain. We hiked perhaps a mile from Combat Outpost Taghaz in Khanashin district to the checkpoint, maneuvering past camels, sheep, scraggly bushes -– and through a…

COMBAT OUTPOST TAGHAZ, Afghanistan – If you’re going to spend a month in Afghanistan, you may as well visit the frontier while you’re there. Photographer Colin Kelly and I moved across Helmand province’s Khanashin district today, hopping a long convoy ride here from Combat Outpost Payne. We rolled through the desert with Marine Border Adviser Team 1. The unit is attached to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., but primarily comprises Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and other West Coast installations. BAT-1 – and yes, they use a bat signal as a logo some of the time…

COMBAT OUTPOST TAGHAZ, Afghanistan – If you’re going to spend a month in Afghanistan, you may as well visit the frontier while you’re there. Photographer Colin Kelly and I moved across Helmand province’s Khanashin district today, hopping a long convoy ride here from Combat Outpost Payne. We rolled through the desert with Marine Border Adviser Team 1. The unit is attached to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., but primarily comprises Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and other West Coast installations. BAT-1 – and yes, they use a bat signal as a logo some of the time…

COMBAT OUTPOST PAYNE, Afghanistan — It’s well after dusk here in the desert, but I wanted to take a minute to share how my day began. As you can see above, there’s one hell of a sunrise on the right day downrange. I’m still struggling to adjust to the time zone difference, so I awoke today about 4 a.m. — more than early enough to wait for the day to begin. The sun peeked over the horizon, exploding in a series of pink, orange and rose hues. I took it in, grabbing this image from behind the safe confines of…

KHANASHIN, Afghanistan – The Marines pushed out here early this morning, making their way to two Afghan Border Police outposts at the edge of a desolate wasteland desert. The convoys from Combat Outpost Payne have become routine, said Capt. Alexis Miguel, assistant team leader for Border Adviser Team 2, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines. The advisers are primarily from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and attached to 3/8 in the field this summer. The shift to having Afghan National Security Forces in the lead providing their nation’s security has changed the way the advisers do business. They used to live alongside the border…

COMBAT OUTPOST PAYNE, Afghanistan — Once again, I’m checking in here from the House of Payne. Get it? Good. To get to this outpost from Camp Leatherneck, photographer Colin Kelly and I rose before dawn this morning to hop an MV-22 Osprey. It meant we were awake as President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. W. Mitt Romney squared off in a presidential debate back in the U.S. Helmand province is 8 1/2 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, creating issues whenever there are live events that many Americans watch, whether it’s a sporting event or something involving national politics.…

COMBAT OUTPOST PAYNE, Afghanistan – And just like that, we’ve reached the Marine Corps’ southern frontier in Helmand province. Photographer Colin Kelly and I traveled by MV-22 Osprey today to this desert outpost in Khanashin district, where most people live in a collection of rural villages along a bend in the Helmand River. It was first flooded with Marine forces in July 2009 during Operation Khanjar, or Strike the Sword, becoming part of the biggest aerial assault since the Vietnam War. COP Payne was established afterward and served as the battalion headquarters for the last few years for light armored…

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Good evening, friends. We’re still aboard this forward operating base, conducting interviews for several stories in forthcoming issues of Marine Corps Times. In the meantime, I wanted to share a meeting I had today with the top brass in 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, out of Twentynine Palms, Calif. The unit is on its way back to the U.S. following a grueling seven-month deployment in volatile northern Helmand province. Its Marines were based primarily in Sangin at first, and then gradually spread through Kajaki, Musa Qala and Now Zad districts as the drawdown in forces across Afghanistan…

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