APTN - Afghansitan 2010 - Turf Wars in Marjah
This video clip filmed on the last week of September 2010 includes the thoughts of members of 1st Platoon as they talk about their war in Marjah.
The former commander of United States forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, once described the fight in Marjah as a bleeding ulcer. Situated to the East of the Helmand River valley, this fertile network of farm lands has long been a key stronghold of the Taliban.
But that control is now being challenged. US Marines from Echo Company, 2nd Battalion 9th Marines, have been in Marjah since June and are waging and winning a fight that is not unfamiliar to them; a fight the soldiers of 1st Platoon describe as a "good old fashioned turf war..."
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Turf Wars - Real Time
The former commander of United States forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, once described the fight in Marjah as a bleeding ulcer. Situated to the East of the Helmand River valley, this fertile network of farm lands has long been a key stronghold of the Taliban. But that control is now being challenged. US Marines from Echo Company, 2nd Battalion 9th Marines, have been in Marjah since June and are waging and winning a fight that is not unfamiliar to them; a fight the soldiers of 1st Platoon describe as a "good old fashioned turf war". This video clip filmed on the morning of the 28th September 2010 is a real time, multi-camera view of one such fire-fight where elements of 1st Platoon are ambushed by Taliban fighters in the eastern sector of their area of operations.
Echo 1-2 Firefight Marjah September 2010
United States Marines from Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines, based in north east Marjah in Helmand province, came into contact with Taliban insurgents during the course of Sunday 26th September 2010. Now in the third month of a seven month deployment, these types of actions have become common place as US Marines contest areas previously dominated by the insurgency. As Marine Sergeant Benson describes it, "We're in a turf war with the Taliban".
For the first two hours of the patrol there were no incidents but as Marines pushed past an abandoned school, the eastern boundary of the platoon's patrol, they came under small arms fire from at least three locations.
With Afghan National Army elements in support firing Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and M-16 assault rifles, elements of Echo Company maneuvered on the suspected firing positions of the Taliban insurgents. Having pinned these down they then called in air support from a section of Marine Cobra helicopters who were on station above the soldiers. The Cobra attack helicopters then strafed the insurgents with 20mm machine gun fire and rockets. The use of air support has been decisive in the counter insurgency campaign as Taliban fighters usually beat a hasty retreat as air support comes on station, and this firefight was no exception.
All that remained as evidence of the firefight were AK47 shell casings and the impacts of rockets fired by the US helicopters. After conducting a bomb damage assessment of the area, the Marines eventually returned to base. With no casualties on their side, the Marines considered this a good day's work.
Echo 1-3 firefight in Marjah
APTN News Clip of a firefight with 1st Platoon Echo company, the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines in north-east Marjah, near the village of Wardak - Marjah in Helmand Province. September 2010
101st Airborne's Wilson Roughnecks in Action - Kandahar September 2010
In response to a series of rocket attacks this morning on the US Forward Operating Base (FOB) Wilson in south-west Kandahar province, soldiers of Alfa Battery of the 32nd SCR, attached to the 101st Airborne Division -- nicknamed the Roughnecks -- laid down a barrage of counter battery fire. This fire, which continued for most of the afternoon, was aimed at suppressing further Taliban rocket attacks.
Artillery units like Alfa battery play an important role in supporting frontline troops who are currently engaged in an offensive in the Talban heartland of Kandahar.
Alpha Company 5-158 "Dust Off" in Helmand September 2010
The sun had barely risen on Friday 16th September morning when the first "Alfa" call for the "Dust Off" medivac team based at FOB Dwyer came through. Attached to the 101st Airborne Division, the crews from Alfa Company 5-158 "Dust Off" Medivac battalion are ten months into a year-long deployment.
The Alfa designation of a medivac call is the highest priority and the word has come in that two marines have been injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) in north-east Helmand. As the crews rush to their UH-60 Blackhawks and don their body armour, they are updated on the specific location of the landing zone (LZ). Within minutes they are airborne and while heading out to the LZ, the medic on board the bird readies his equipment.
Flying at around 120 knots and at just over 1000 feet above ground level, the Blackhawks fly in close formation with the "chase bird" -- the armed gunship version of the helicopter - providing an escort for the flying ambulance.
As the medivac bird lands the crew chief jumps out with M-4 rifle at the ready, closely followed by the medic who grabs the stretchers for the two casualties. The severely dry conditions in southern Afghanistan make the landings a massively dusty experience and it takes several minutes before the medivac crew can see the Marines who are waiting for them.
The first Marine (who is unidentified and is not identifiable in the video) is suffering from multiple injuries including shrapnel wounds to the legs torso and arms. He is the more serious of the two cases and is stretchered straight into the waiting bird. Medic Sgt Tyrone Jordan then grabs Marine corporal David Hawkins, 22, from Porter Colorado (We have his permission to use his image but should wait 24 hours to enable him to inform his family) and fireman lifts him to the waiting helicopter. With the two Marines safely aboard the helicopter takes off and heads to the field hospital at FOB Dwyer at around 140 knots making the ten miles in about six minutes.
During the flight Sgt Jordan checks his patients and sets up an IV on the more serious of the two patients and readies them for the ground crew who are waiting at the CASH (Combat Area Support Hospital) at Dwyer.
By the end of their 24-hour shift at 17h00 that day, Warrant Officers Portius, Otto and the crew had flown eight separate missions rescuing 12 patients.