Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, continued force protection operations in the nearby village of Larr, Afghanistan on May 15 to 17, 2014.
“We went in there with the desired effect of disrupting a potential command and control node for insurgency and also to answer some intelligence-driven requests,” said 1st Lt. Walter Mack, the executive officer of Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines, and a native of New York City.
Bravo Co.’s mission was to conduct a hasty clear of the village while Weapons Co. provided a security cordon around the outside perimeter. As the infantrymen of Weapons Co. departed Camp Leatherneck for Larr Village on a mounted vehicle patrol, Bravo Co. prepared at the Camp Bastion flightline to travel by CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters.
Once Weapons Co. arrived at Larr Village and established a security cordon, the Bravo Co. Marines were in the bellies of the Super Stallions enroute to the area. The Marines sat patiently in the small canvas seats as wind gushed about them. Within minutes of take-off they arrived at their objective and offloaded the helicopters under the cover of night.
The Bravo Co. Marines established security from their dismounted positions in wadis and fields, then maneuvered into the village at first light to establish a patrol base. Patrol bases are areas out of which Marines can eat, sleep and operate while staying near an objective.
“It was really nice operating out of a patrol base because we were able to go out and interact with the locals more,” said Cpl. Phillip Jacoby, an assistant patrol leader with Bravo Co. and a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan. “It was great to get the opportunity to build relationships with the local Afghans.”
For the following 48 hours the infantrymen conducted partnered patrols throughout Larr Village with Afghan National Army soldiers, while Weapons Co. continued to maintain the security cordon to ensure the patrols’ safety.
The Marines conducted several security patrols to disrupt enemy fighters in the area and utilized the ANA soldiers to search compounds of interest for hazardous materials.
“Throughout the compounds we found different objects that we thought could be linked to improvised explosive device materials,” said 2nd Lt. Zachary Geelan, a platoon commander with Bravo Co. and a native of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. “We took the suspected objects off of the battlefield and eliminated the potential threat.”
During the second day of the mission, Weapons Co. pushed Marines to outlying areas of the village in an attempt to discover weapons caches. As they maneuvered closer to the suspected caches the infantrymen received sporadic small-arms and machinegun fire as well as grenade-launcher fire. The Marines returned fire for a short duration before the insurgents retreated and blended back in with the local populace.
Following the two days of patrols, Bravo Co. departed the patrol base to be extracted from the area by helicopters while Weapons Co. provided security once again. The two companies safely returned to Camp Leatherneck with each Marine and the mission complete.
By Cpl. Joseph Scanlan | Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan