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Subject: 24th MEU Action in Helmand Province
timon_phocas    6/3/2008 2:20:31 PM
The 24th MEU was committed to battle in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan this year. They recently fought a spectacularly successful battle there. I heard about it on a program from Covert Radio (h**p:// and looked for links about the action. h**p:// This article is copied and pasted from, it was written by Herschel Smith (the blogger of the site). It is dated 27 May 2008 “For two years British troops staked out a presence in this small district center in southern Afghanistan and fended off attacks from the Taliban. The constant firefights left it a ghost town, its bazaar broken and empty but for one baker, its houses and orchards reduced to rubble and weeds. But it took the U.S. Marines, specifically the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, about 96 hours to clear out the Taliban in a fierce battle in the past month and push them back 10 kilometers, or six miles … The Marines’ drive against the Taliban in this large farming region is certainly not finished, and the Taliban have often been pushed out of areas in Afghanistan only to return in force. But for the British forces and for Afghan residents, the result of the recent operation has been palpable … Major Neil Den-McKay, the officer commanding a company of the Royal Regiment of Scotland based here, said of the U.S. Marine’s assault: “They have disrupted the Taliban’s freedom of movement and pushed them south, and that has created the grounds for us to develop the hospital and set the conditions for the government to come back.” People have started coming back to villages north of the town, he added, saying, “There has been huge optimism from the people.” For the Marines, it was a chance to hit the enemy with the full panoply of their firepower in places where they were confident there were few civilians. The Taliban put up a tenacious fight, rushing in reinforcements in cars and vans from the south and returning again and again to the attack. But they were beaten back in four days by three companies of marines, two of which were dropped in by helicopter to the south east … Marines from Charlie Company said the reaction from the returning population, mostly farmers, has been favorable. “Everyone says they don’t like the Taliban,” said Captain John Moder, 34, commander of Charlie Company. People had complained that the Taliban stole food, clothes and vehicles from them, he said … The U.S. commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Dan McNeill, had a checklist of tasks around the country for the 3,200 marines when they arrived in March. But the majority of them have spent a month in Garmser after changing their original plan to secure a single road here, when they realized how important the area was to the Taliban as an infiltration and supply route to fighters in northern Helmand Province. “This is an artery and we did not realize that when we squeezed that artery, it would have such an effect,” said First Lieutenant Mark Matzke, the executive officer of Charlie Company. The whole area was unexpectedly welcoming to the U.S. forces, and eager for security and development, Moder of Charlie Company said. “Us pushing the Taliban out allows the Afghan National Army to come in,” he said. “This is a real bread basket here. There’s a lot of potential here.” This southern part of Helmand Province, along the Helmand River valley, is prime agricultural land and still benefits from the grand irrigation plan started by U.S. government assistance in the 1950s and 1960s. It has traditionally been the main producer of wheat and other crops for the country, but in 30 years of war has given way to poppies, providing a large percentage of the crop that has made Afghanistan the producer of 98 percent of the world’s opium. The region has long been an infiltration route for insurgents coming across the southern border with Pakistan, crossing the border from Baluchistan via an Afghan refugee camp, known as Girdi Jungle, notorious for its drug smuggling and gun running. The Taliban, and the drug runners, then race across a region known ominously as the desert of death until they reach the river valley, which provides ideal cover of villages and greenery. With such a large area under their control, they were able to gather in numbers, stockpile weapons and provide a logistics route to send fighters and weapons into northern Helmand and the provinces of Kandahar and Uruzgan beyond. The Taliban, who kicked out villagers and took over their farmhouses, sometimes even bringing their families from Pakistan to join them, were joined by Arabs and Pakistanis, Den-McKay said. “The majority of elements in this area are Arab and Pakistani, and the locals detest them,” he said. Some of the Arabs were specialist trainers and some young jihadists from different countries. The commanders were Iranians, which shares a border with Afghanistan to the southwest, as well as Sa
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timon_phocas    double post   6/3/2008 2:24:42 PM
sorry for the double post. After the initial post I was transferred to a StrategyPage error page saying the Strategy page no longer had a page. I assumed this meant that the post had not succeeded. 
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ArtyEngineer       6/6/2008 11:57:58 AM
"The 24th MEU applied its full organic firepower to shred a Taliban force that had been plaguing the area."
My boys have put a lot of rounds down range!!!!!  This op truely showcased the capabilities and power of a MEU.
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SCCOMarine       6/27/2008 11:45:37 PM
The 24th MEU is doing a great job out there and gaining alot of praise fr/ their Foreign Counterparts.
But I think the mission to watch right now in A'stan is that of 2/7.  Their mission is easy to overlook b/c it appears to be a simple training embed.  But they are following a CAP (Combined Action Program) like strategy.  CAP differs from ETTs by the Small Units running their own offensive actions as well as training&mentoring the Partner Force in their actions.
They are BN strength Operating in Squad to Platoon Sized Dets 'Distributed' across an area 400Km by 240Km.
They are seeing a lot of action in their Small Unit really pushing hard into taliban 'comfort zones' making them stay on the move.  But are taking alot of KIA in the process.  They lost about 14 since April, 8 of which in the last week.
Unlike the 24th MEU who's mission is straight forward Direct Combat, its hard to quantify mission thru numbers.  But I think its the more interesting of the two.
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ArtyEngineer    SCCO   6/28/2008 12:47:58 AM
Good post, its easy to overlook those who are there in the embedded training role.  Regardless of what teh 24th MEU does with refards to pushing out the Taliban/Al quaeda etc, the guys who are going to win this campaign are those who are giving he Afghan forces teh ability to stand on their own two feet and hold the ground the various coalition forces take for them.
Still, a big shout out to my boys from alpha battery 1/10, kinnard and simmons, beer is on me when you boys get back ;)
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