HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Marines and sailors with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, alongside Afghan National Army counterparts, disrupted insurgent activity during a security operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 9-11.
During the 72-hour operation, two sections of Marines and ANA soldiers conducted dismounted patrols on foot at alternate times in the area. A dismounted patrol is when a small team of Marines leaves their vehicles to get a clear picture of the situation by sweeping the immediate area on foot with mine detectors. When one group of Marines and ANA were patrolling and searching nearby compounds for weapons and lethal aid, the other group held security inside a fortress of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
“Our main mission is to provide security and disrupt enemy activity in the area,” said Cpl. Aaron Fitzgerald, a team leader with Bravo Co., and native of Kingston, New York. “We mainly push out on security patrols and talk to local nationals regularly so that we have a baseline in a certain area. We are setting up the ANA for success in the future. We have a very good working relationship with them, and it is a great experience for us to get to work with another military.”
The operation was designed so that the ANA could conduct searches for lethal aid and weapons caches hidden among suspicious compounds in the area.
“We conduct daily patrols as a deterrent,” said Sgt. Scott Propheter, a squad leader with Bravo Co., and native of Phoenix. “Going out with the ANA is great. It is their country, and they are ready to take control. While we are in a support role, we make sure they have good security so that they can talk to local Afghans and get the information they need in the area.”
Afghan soldiers successfully searched more than eight compounds and talked to several civilians to show a known presence in the area.
Bravo Co. Marines and sailors will continue to patrol alongside ANA in the surrounding area of Camps Bastion and Leatherneck to ensure the safety of coalition forces operating on the bases until full security responsibility of the area is transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces by the end of the year.