(May 5, 2014) — U.S. Marine advisors serving with Security Force Assistance Advisor Team (SFAAT) 2-215 and security forces with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regional Command (Southwest), departed Forward Operating Bases Nolay and Sabit Qadam, Sangin District, Helmand province for the final time today.
Approximately 40 Marines under the command of Col. Christopher Douglas served with 2-215 SFAAT since September 2013 and provided functional and institutional advising to the 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, Afghan National Army. Forward Operating Base Nolay was transferred to the Afghan National Army in November of 2012, and the Afghan National Security Forces took over lead security responsibility during June 2013.
“It has been an honor to have contributed to the development of a capable, confident, credible ANSF in the eyes of the people in the Sangin area,” said Col. Christopher Douglas, 2-215 SFAAT Team Leader. “With this in mind, if we look at the bigger picture, a significant number of coalition forces have facilitated the success of the ANSF within the 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps zone. Coalition forces fought hard to establish security of the area and set the conditions that would facilitate the ANSF and governance. Once the ANSF grew in size and capability, coalition force responsibility shifted to partnered operations until the ANSF were in the lead, planning, coordinating and executing their own operations.”
A company-sized element of security forces serving with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines under the command of Lt. Col. Seth Yost exited nearby FOB Sabit Qadam. The Marines provided surveillance and security for the base and worked in support of ANA operations in the “Green Zone” of Sangin.
Recently, Marines also left FOB Delaram in Nimroz province and transferred the base to the 4th Brigade, 215th Corps, ANA, April 8.
The redeployment of advisors and security forces from Sangin and Delaram marks the end of advising at the brigade level for U.S. Marines in the RC(SW) Area of Operations. United Kingdom forces continue to advise the 3rd Brigade, 215th Corps, ANA, at Camp Shorabak.
In early April, RC(SW) consolidated SFA efforts under the newly established Combined-Corps Advisor Team (C-CAT) and will assist the ANSF by providing functional-based advising and institutional development and sustainability at the corps level.
“The ANSF have proven themselves ready for this moment by their success during the 2013 fighting season, with pre-election security operations and with the blanket of security they provided on Election Day,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo, commander, RC(SW). “We will continue focus on functional-based advising with the 215th Corps as we transition full security responsibility in a responsible manner by the end of 2014.”
Approximately 4,500 Marines are serving with Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, RC(SW) at Camps Bastion and Leatherneck.