Browsing: Infantry

USA Today published a story yesterday by longtime war correspondent Jim Michaels, who traveled with Commandant Gen. Jim Amos during his recent trip to Afghanistan. For readers who have been tracking Marine operations in Helmand province closely, there won’t be many surprises in the piece… except maybe this: From mid-March to mid-July, 147 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in action in the Helmand region, up from 57 in the same period last year, according to Regional Command Southwest. During that period, 31 coalition troops were killed in action, down from 50 troops a year ago. In other words, Afghan…

The Marine Corps’ ongoing reduction in forces means many things to our readers — including fewer promotion opportunities in many military occupational specialties and expanded incentive programs to leave the service. This week’s Marine Corps Times weighs in on both of those issues. The main cover story outlines the ranks and jobs where the Corps’ promotion system is jammed up, and what the service is doing to fix it. We also lay out the details in the fiscal 2013 version of the Voluntary Enlisted Early Release Program, which will allow eligible enlisted Marines to leave the service up to a…

Sometimes, the boss comes long ways to check in on his people. That was the case yesterday in Afghanistan, where Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett dropped in on six bases and outposts, fielding questions from Marines and thanking them for their service. There are at least two accounts of their travels published. A Marine Corps news release said the brass visited Marines at Camp Leatherneck, Forward Operating Base Payne, FOB Geronimo, FOB Jackson, FOB Zeebrugge and Combat Outpost Shir Ghazi. That means they traveled from Kajaki district in northern Helmand all the…

Friday morning, I interviewed Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Cole, the Marine Corps’ newest Silver Star recipient. He received the award Tuesday at Camp Lejeune, N.C., for heroism in Marjah, Afghanistan, on Aug. 17, 2010. Cole’s actions speak for themselves. As a machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, he took an M240B machine gun from a fellow Marine who was wounded, abandoning cover to engage insurgents who were less than 100 meters away. He was eventually shot twice in the arm, leaving him gushing blood from his brachial artery. The Marine Corps released its account of the firefight here, and my…

The top Marine commander in Afghanistan and Helmand province Gov. Mohammad Gulab Mangal briefed media at the Pentagon today, addressing the evolving mission there as Afghan forces take the lead in providing security. Many issues were addressed. Improved governance, for one. Expansion of the Afghan National Army, for another. Even the Afghan government’s plan to stir up commerce in Helmand was discussed, a wrinkle that hasn’t received much press. Two basics weren’t covered, however: How many Marines are there presently in Afghanistan, and how many will be left this fall? Both numbers are unclear, now that the U.S. is in…

Ready or not, the debate about whether or not women should be able to serve in infantry units has moved firmly into the mainstream media spotlight. Capt. Katie Petronio appeared on CNN this morning, reaffirming the position she took in a recent Marine Corps Gazette article that women should not be able to serve in infantry units: [HTML1] Petronio’s appearance follows on the heels of a piece by the New York Times’ C.J. Chivers published Sunday. It outlined the planned experimental introduction of female lieutenants at Infantry Officers Course. Marine Corps Times has covered the issue at length in the…

The Marine Corps’ footprint in Afghanistan is changing dramatically as a drawdown in forces continues throughout the summer. The latest changes include a shift in central Helmand province in which one infantry battalion — 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. — is distributed across Marjah, Nawa, and several other districts, with Afghan forces taking a leading role. Second Battalion, 9th Marines, and 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, both out of Lejeune, left the battlefield recently and were not replaced. The Corps also has realigned all remaining infantry units to fall under Regimental Combat Team 6, out of Camp…

It was Nov. 21, 2010, when Lance Cpls. Kyle Carpenter and Nick Eufrazio were rocked with a grenade blast that changed both of their lives. Nineteen months later, Carpenter’s miraculous recovery continues. Profiled in a Marine Corps Times cover story I wrote late last year, he has continued to heal slowly from life threatening injuries. The blast mangled his jaw, destroyed one of his eyes and most of his teeth and caused severe trauma to his right arm, which had severe tissue damage and more than 30 fractures. Carpenter has been strikingly open about his recovery since, launching a Facebook…

Combat operations are rarely as simple as Marines serving exclusively with Marines, or soldiers serving exclusively with soldiers. There’s no better recent example of this than Army Staff Sgt. Corey Calkins, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism serving alongside Marines. On Feb. 18, 2010, Calkins was serving in Marjah, Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold that had been assaulted by Marine forces only days before. As part of a dismounted reconnaissance patrol consisting of U.S. soldiers, Marines and Afghan National Security Forces, Calkins led an attack on a platoon-sized group of insurgents in fortified positions in the bazaar near…

The decision to award the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation to 28,000 personnel who served under Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010 has led to a basic question from other Marines: Why not us? Marines, veterans and their family members are questioning online why troops who served in heavy combat in Iraq and Afghanistan outside the MEB’s deployment haven’t received a PUC, which is considered the unit-level equivalent to the Navy Cross. The only other PUC awarded to a Marine unit since 9/11 went to I Marine Expeditionary Force (Reinforced), for actions during and immediately after the initial invasion of…

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