What my Marine Unit Did in Afghanistan(kinda long)

USMC Johnny

Active member
2nd Marine Division, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines

The Marine's journey to the North Arabian Sea began November 11th when they "got the call" to join Camp Pendleton, Calif.'s 15th MEU (SOC) for operations deep into Afghanistan. In nearly no time at all, Brig. Gen. James N. Mattis, a Marine veteran of 32 years and the commander of Combined Task Force 58, had nearly 9,000 Marines and Sailors, including two Marine Expeditionary Units under his command and ready to project American resolve and combat power ashore. In the days leading up to the insertion of U.S. Marines shortly after dusk Sunday night into Afghanistan as 15th MEU (SOC) Marines pushed ashore, 26th MEU (SOC) aircraft performed successful bombing runs on Taliban convoys and provided close air support for 15th MEU (SOC)'s operations ashore.

Marine Task Force-58 rolled into the former Taliban stronghold securing the city?s airport on December 13, 2001. Light Armored Vehicles and Combined Anti-Armored Teams from the 15th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) launched from Marine Forward Operating Base Camp Rhino traveling over rugged, desert terrain for almost two weeks before reaching the city. An infantry company was inserted by CH-53E Super Stallions and immediately scoured the runway and its taxiways for countless pieces of shrapnel - some as minute as a pennies and others as large as station wagon bumpers.

Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)'s Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAAT) were one of the first units to deploy from the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, a collection of US Navy warships deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The CAAT platoon is comprised of more than 40 combat-trained, infantry Marines who ride in 14 High Mobility, Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) equipped with either a M2 .50-caliber machinegun or a MK19 automatic grenade launcher. There are eight Marines in a team, spread across two HMMWVs, and all are armed with either an M16A2 service rifle or M9 9mm service pistol. They also have AT-4 Rockets (shoulder-fired, anti-armor weapons) and various other illumination and signaling pyrotechnics at their disposal. CAAT deployed ashore 19 November 2001 to augment the 15th MEU (SOC) at Camp Rhino, an expeditionary desert forward operating base in southern Afghanistan. In addition to patrols, they were tasked to recover a couple of the 15th MEU (SOC)'s reconnaissance vehicles that had become disabled while on patrol. Having proven itself a combat multiplier, the CAAT platoon was given a critical mission of recovering downed aviators.

Lima Company was involved in a joint service operation with US Navy SEALs. The SEALs and Marines had the mission to exploit numerous caves in the area near Khowst, one of the last remaining Taliban and Al-Qaeda strongholds and training bases. The Marines and SEALs found several small and large caches of weapons and munitions. After logging the caches' GPS coordinates, they orchestrated the drop of over 200 bombs over the course of more than a week, effectively collapsing the cave networks in the desert terrain there. Initially, the Marines' mission was to provide local security, but it quickly escalated into something much more. Every night, Lima Company sent out fire-team or squad-sized patrols led by a Marine corporal or sergeant.