Sgt Stryker here. Things progress in Afghanistan. (I’ll have info soon on the new Noah’s Ark the Sea Bees are building over there. It’s quite a feat! First things first, though.)
U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers and police are continuing clearing operations in key population centers along the Helmand River valley as part of operation Khanjar. It is an effort to secure the local Afghan population from the threat of Taliban and other insurgent intimidation and violence.
Almost 4,000 Marines and Sailors from Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, along with more than 600 Afghan national security forces, are currently operating in the districts of Nawa and Garmsir in central Helmand province. MEB forces are operating as far south as the vicinity of Khan Neshin, the capital of Rig district in the region of the Helmand River valley known as “The Fishhook.”
The Marines and Afghan forces are continuing to patrol and have begun engaging with key leaders in the districts in order to better understand the concerns and needs of Afghans in the area. Once security is established, civil affairs personnel and other non-governmental organizations and agencies will begin establishing programs aimed at building long-term governance and development throughout the Helmand River valley.
One Marine has been killed in action, and several others have been injured or wounded since the operation began. Yesterday, south of Garmsir, one Afghan man began to approach a group of Marines and was warned to stop. He did not stop, despite a series of warning indicators being employed. The man continued to walk toward the Marines at a rapid pace without saying anything to them. A warning shot was fired, and when he still did not stop, a Marine fired a single shot, wounding the man. U.S. Navy corpsmen immediately treated the man, and he was evacuated by MEB forces to Bost hospital in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, where he is in stable condition.
It’s still dangerous out there, but a lot is being done. As you’ll see coming up with a post about the Afghanistan Noah’s Ark being built, there’s a lot of progress happening as well. As Iraq becomes safer and safer, eyes are turning back toward Afghanistan where it’s also about more than the missiles.
Sgt. Stryker out.
Essex Sailors Demonstrate Firefighting Skills
Sailors assigned to the air department crash and salvage team of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex fight a simulated class bravo fire on the flight deck of the ship. Essex is in port and scheduled to participate in Talisman Saber 2009, a series of training exercises hosted by the Australian defense force. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nardelito Gervacio
USS Ronald Reagan Activity
U.S. Navy 1st Lt. Glen Bourque, commander, communicates with all stations from Deck Control aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan during a replenishment at sea evolution with fast combat support ship USNS Rainier. Bourque is in charge of transporting cargo via highlines and fuel via spanwires from Rainier to Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan is underway on a routine deployment in the Indian Ocean. Photo by Oliver Cole
Launching Off the Flight Deck
An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the “Pukin’ Dogs” of Strike Fighter Squadron 143 launches off the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as well as Maritime Security Operations. MSO in the U.S. 5th Fleet are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States’ commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity. Photo by Seaman Apprentice Jon Dasbach
U.S Soldiers Patrol Basra’s Five Mile Market
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ramon Ramos from Hollister, Calif., with 445th Civil Affairs Battalion, walks with Iraqi children during a foot patrol into Five Mile Market, Basra, Iraq, June 22. Photo by Staff Sgt. Chrissy Best