commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

First in Marja, Aftghanistan…. with Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines……

The helicopters landed before dawn Saturday in a poppy field beside a row of mud-walled compounds. The Marines ran into the darkness and crouched through the rotor-whipped dust as their aircraft lifted away.

For the Marines of Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, the assault into the last large Taliban stronghold in Helmand Province was beginning. For almost all of them, this was to be their first taste of war. And an afternoon of small-arms combat was ahead.

But at first, these Marines, the vanguard for 6,000 NATO and Afghan troops streaming in to loosen the Taliban’s grip here permanently, met no resistance.

On the last miles of the ride in, the Marines were silent as the aircraft flew 200 feet above freshly sprouting fields. Irrigation canals glittered beneath the portholes, rolling past fast.

They did not know what to expect, beyond the fact that at least hundreds of insurgents were waiting for them, and that many would fight to keep their hold on this opium-poppy production center.

Company K is part of what many Marines call a surge battalion, one of the units assigned to Afghanistan after President Obama decided last year to increase the American troop level on the ground. It arrived in Afghanistan a month ago, and had waited for this moment. Its introduction to the war was a crash course.

As helicopter wheels touched soil, the aircraft filled with whoops, and the Marines stood and bolted for the tail ramp.

They moved briskly. Within minutes, the first Marines of Third Platoon were entering compounds to the landing zone’s north, checking for enemy fighters and booby traps. The rest of the platoon followed through the gate.

Sergeants and corporals urged a steady pace. “Go! Go! Go!” they said, spicing instructions with foul words. By 3 a.m., Company K had its toehold.

For more on their move to their other objectives and their first combat engagements…..

Welcome to real war Company K……….

February 13, 2010 - Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , ,

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